The Horde (Advanced Dungeons & Dragons) 0880388684, 9780880388689

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The Horde (Advanced Dungeons & Dragons)
 0880388684, 9780880388689

Table of contents :
Contents--Volume I......Page 5
How to Use This Set......Page 7
Faerun, Kara-Tur, and the Endless Waste......Page 8
A Description of the World......Page 10
The Tribes......Page 11
Tribal Life......Page 12
Tribal Organization......Page 13
The Horseman Warrior......Page 14
Customs and Taboos......Page 15
Foreigners Among the Nomads......Page 16
The Countries......Page 17
Languages......Page 19
A History of the Steppe......Page 20
Yamun Khahan and the Horde......Page 21
The Army of Yamun Khahan......Page 22
Ahs Trango Shan......Page 23
Alashan......Page 25
Almorel......Page 26
Ansi Oasis......Page 27
Beacon Cairn......Page 28
Bhaluin, the Drowned City......Page 29
Bright Beacon Springs......Page 30
Caves of a Thousand Gods......Page 32
Cave of the Monkey......Page 34
Chang-liu-shui Oasis......Page 35
Cherrapunni Nor......Page 36
Citadel Rashemar......Page 37
Clearflow River......Page 38
Dead Dwarf Bridge......Page 39
Delbyl......Page 40
Dhaztanar......Page 41
Dragonwall, the......Page 44
Ejen Horo......Page 46
Estanil......Page 47
Fatula Chupa......Page 48
The Firepeaks......Page 49
Gate of Iron......Page 51
Glacier of the Dragon......Page 52
Grave Mounds......Page 53
The Great Spire of the Ice Sea......Page 55
Hagga Shan......Page 56
Hollow Crown Mountains......Page 57
Horseshoe Temple Oasis......Page 60
Howling Gap......Page 61
Iliphanar......Page 63
Jade Gate Spring......Page 64
Jumpa River......Page 65
Khalab......Page 66
Khazari......Page 73
Kora Shan......Page 74
The Valley of Exiles......Page 75
The Valley of the Shan Sao......Page 76
Kushk......Page 77
Kwachow......Page 78
Lake of Mists......Page 80
Leopard Shan......Page 81
Manass......Page 82
Many-Windowed Tower, the......Page 84
Merket Oasis......Page 85
Mountain of Iron, the......Page 87
Mountains of Copper......Page 88
Muren Tso......Page 89
Nathoud......Page 90
Neachal Fountain......Page 92
Noble Tombs......Page 93
Oboos......Page 94
Panjuis......Page 95
Phelzel......Page 96
Pleasant Valley Gateway Oasis......Page 97
Port Ghaast......Page 98
Punakha Dzong......Page 99
Quaraband......Page 100
Ra-Khati......Page 101
Raudor......Page 102
Semkhrun......Page 104
Sentinelspire......Page 105
Solon......Page 107
Somraggah......Page 108
Spice Road, the......Page 109
Tsaparang Fortress......Page 110
Ustann......Page 111
Yellow Thunder Falls......Page 112
Zindalankh......Page 113
Terra Nova......Page 114
Terra Firma......Page 115
The Central Steppe......Page 116
The Prairies......Page 119
The Forests......Page 123
The Deserts......Page 127
The Mountains......Page 130
The Arctic Plain......Page 131

Citation preview

“Submit to me and recognize my authority over your people or I shall raze your city and destroy all those who refuse me.” Hoekun Yamun, Khahan of the Tuigan, Illustrious Emperor of All Peoples

Credits Design: David “Zeb” Cook Editing: Steve Winter Box Cover Art: Larry Elmore Book Cover Art, Interior Illustrations: Doug Chaffee

Monster Illustrations: Thomas Baxa Cartography: Diesel Graphic Design: Stephanie Tabat Typography: Gaye O’Keefe

ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, AD&D, FORGOTTEN REALMS, PRODUCTS OF YOUR IMAGINATION, and the TSR logo are trademarks owned by TSR Inc. Distributed to the book trade in the United States by Random House Inc., and in Canada by Random House of Canada, Ltd. Distributed to the toy and hobby trade by regional distributors. Distributed in the United Kingdom by TSR UK Ltd. This material is protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America. Any reproduction or unauthorized use of the material or artwork presented herein is prohibited without the express written permission of TSR Inc. © 1990 TSR Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in the U.S.A.

ISBN 0-88038-868-4


A Guidebook to the Endless Waste, Volume I Table of Contents Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 How to Use This Set . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Using the Maps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 AD&D® 2nd Edition Game and Oriental Adventures. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 A Note About Kara-Tur Maps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Faerun, Kara-Tur, and the Endless Waste. . . . . . . . .6 A Description of the World. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 An Overview of the Endless Waste . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 The Tribes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Tribal Life. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Tribal Organization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 The Woman’s Place. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 The Horseman Warrior. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Religion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Magic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Thieves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Customs and Taboos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Useful Sayings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Foreigners Among the Nomads . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 The Countries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 Languages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 A History of the Steppe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 Yamun Khahan and the Horde. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19 Recent Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20 The Army of Yamun Khahan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20 Encyclopedia of the Endless Waste . .21 A-Ling Shan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 Ahs Trango Shan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Alashan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Almorel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24 Ama Basin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 Ansi Oasis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 Beacon Cairn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Bhaluin, the Drowned City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 Bitter Well Oasis. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28 Bright Beacon Springs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28 Brightstar Lake . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30 Caves of a Thousand Gods. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30

Cave of the Monkey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32 Chang-liu-shui Oasis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33 Cherrapunni Nor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34 Citadel Rashemar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35 Clearflow River. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36 Copper Mines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Dead Dwarf Bridge. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37 Delbyl . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Dharbang River . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39 Dhaztanar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39 Dragonwall, the . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42 Duirtanal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Ejen Horo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Estanil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Fatula Chupa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 Firepeaks, the . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 Flowery Pond Well . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .49 Gate of Iron . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .49 Ghalyi Shan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50 Glacier of the Lost King. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50 Glacier of the Dragon. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50 Gogrus River . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .51 The Golden Flow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .51 Grave Mounds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 The Great Spire of the Ice Sea . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .53 Grinning Skull Oasis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .54 Griffon Mountains . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .54 Hagga Shan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 Hollow Crown Mountains. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .55 Horseshoe Temple Oasis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .58 Howling Gap . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59 Icerim Mountains. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61 Iliphanar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61 Iris Well Spring. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .62 Jade Gate Spring . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .62 Jorhat Shan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 Jumpa River. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .63 Katakoro Shan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .64 Khalab . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .64

A Guidebook to the Endless Waste, Volume I Table of Contents Khazari . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .69 Khopet-Dag . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .70 Kora Shan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .70 Kun-Yen Shan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71 The Valley of Exiles. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .71 The Valley of Dog-Men. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .72 The Valley of the Shan Sao . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .72 Kushk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .73 Kwachow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .74 Lake of Mists . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .76 Leopard Shan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77 Mahamsaratsu Shan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .78 Manass . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78 Many-Windowed Tower, the . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .80 Merket Oasis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .81 Mountain of Iron, the. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .83 Mountains of Copper . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .84 Muren Khi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .85 Muren Tso . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .85 Nanhu Oasis. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .86 Nas Trango Shan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86 Nathoud . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86 Naupau . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .88 Neachal Fountain. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .88 Ni-Ko Oasis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .89 Noble Tombs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .89 Nor Yudol . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90 Oboos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .90 Panjuis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91 Phannaskul . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .92 Phelzel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92 Pigeon Rock Oasis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .93 Plains of Purple Dust . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .93 Pleasant Valley Gateway Oasis. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .93 Port Ghaast . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .94

Punakha Dzong . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .95 Quaraband . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96 Ra-Khati . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97 Raudor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98 Rauthenflow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .100 Semkhrun . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .100 Semlithtol . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .101 Semphar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .101 Sentinelspire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .101 Shalhoond . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103 Silk Road, the. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .103 Skardu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103 Solon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103 Somraggah . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .104 Spice Road, the . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .105 Tiger’s Nest, the. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 0 6 Tsaparang Fortress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .106 Ustann . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107 Winterkeep. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .108 Yal Tengri . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .108 Yellow Thunder Falls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 0 8 Zanda Tholing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109 Zindalankh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109

Terra Nova . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110 Terra Firma . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . l l l The Central Steppe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .112 The Prairies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .115 Terra Putura . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119 The Forests . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .119 Terra Damnata . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .123 The Deserts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .123 The Mountains . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126 The Arctic Plain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .128


The sages of Faerun call it the Endless Waste. The mandarins of Kara-Tur know it as the Plain of Horses. The wizers of Durpar know it as Al-Tirnaq. It is a land of many names and many places— Solon, Ra-Khati, Semphar, Khazari, the Northern Desert and the Land of the Snow Demons; it is a nameless wasteland, a vast expanse of emptiness. It is a land well-known to travelers and yet a mystery to all outsiders. There are no cities, no great capitals, yet legions beyond number march together in great armies. The rulers print money, have their own writing, and obey written laws, yet live lives of nomadic barbarism, traveling across the steppe and desert from oasis to oasis. It is a poor, penniless land, yet the greatest riches of the world travel across its paths. It is a land of contradictions. The Horde Campaign Setting provides you with the information needed to create adventures and campaigns in the strange and primitive lands of the Endless Waste (as the men of Faerun call this area). It comprises the huge expanse of unsettled land between Faerun to the west and Kara-Tur to the east. It borders both regions and connects the two. By combining the material in this box with the FORGOTTEN REALMS™ and Kara-Tur Campaign Settings, you have a complete, enormous continent stretching from coast to coast. Player characters can undertake the grand adventure, following the Spice Road from Shou Lung to the Golden Way of Thesk and Telflamm. Communication between the kingdoms of the West and the empires of the East is now playable. Your characters can freely travel back and forth—or as freely as the risks and distances involved allow.

gion. Some encyclopedia entries include specialized game information or adventure suggestions. The latter are provided for you to expand and elaborate upon. In general, you do not need to read the encyclopedia material from beginning to end before beginning a campaign. The material in the encyclopedia can be read as needed. Relevant sections should be studied and modified prior to running an adventure, of course. At the end of Volume II is a chapter entitled Terra Nova. This chapter provides detailed information on the actual geography, climate, plants and creatures for the different types of terrain found throughout the Endless Waste. This information is separate from the encyclopedia to allow you to find it easier and quicker. This information is provided to help you create new encounter tables, descriptions of lands, seasons, and generally colorful background information for a long- running campaign set in or on the edges of the Endless Waste. This box also contains eight pages of monsters, ready to insert into your Monstrous Compendium binder. The 24 cards included in the box include a variety of short adventures, all taking place within the confines of the Endless Waste. In addition, other cards are handouts to help both you and your players see and use the unique characteristics of the people and places of the Endless Waste. Two of the four map sheets in the box depict the Endless Waste and surrounding territories. The third map shows the Caliphate of Semphar, the last outpost of civilization before entering the Wasteland. The fourth map depicts the vital city of Dhaztanar, the gateway to the endless waste.

How to Use This Set The Horde box contains two 64-page volumes. Volume One (this book) starts by providing an overview of the geography, history, and tribal culture of the Endless Waste. This is the section you should read first. With this information you can introduce the Endless Waste into your FORGOTTEN REALMS campaign. The bulk of these two volumes is devoted to a comprehensive encyclopedia of the Endless Waste. The encyclopedia describes towns, cities, countries, features and people found in this re5

equipment, and character classes from the two sets freely combine within the vast expanse of the Endless Waste. A Note About Kara-Tur Maps

Owners of the FORGOTTEN REALMS™ Kara-Tur campaign setting should notice that the continent maps provided in this box overlap small portions of the existing Kara-Tur maps. However, the maps from the two sets are not at the same scale, the Kara-Tur maps being considerably larger. Because of the immense distances involved in Kara-Tur, the overall size of Kara-Tur has been reduced by one-third to improve play. The 90-mile scale maps provided in the Kara-Tur set should be revised to 60 miles to the inch. The 30-mile scale maps are reduced to 20 miles to the inch. On the plastic grid, one small hex equals 12 miles on the larger maps and 4 miles on the smaller maps.

Using the Maps A clear plastic grid is included in the box for measuring distances on the maps. The maps are ungridded so they look more natural. You can also show them to the players during a session, if this is appropriate, without revealing distances or travel times. To measure distances, place the small hex containing the “X” on the starting point and the destination in the center of any other hex. (Note that if the start and end are in a straight line, it is easiest to use the edge row of hexes to measure.) Then trace the path the characters will follow to reach. If the journey is long, you may want to mark the grid to show the route the characters follow. A grease pencil or erasable marker is best for this. It may be necessary to tape the grid to the maps. If you must, use drafting tape! Other kinds of tape might damage your maps when removed. When using the 5,700,000:1 (90 miles to the inch) continental maps (the two that show all of the Endless Waste), each small hex on the grid is 18 miles across. On the 1,900,000:1 map (detailed map of Semphar, 30 miles to the inch), the small hexes are 6 miles across. One corner of the grid has larger hexes superimposed on it, at a scale of one hex per inch.

Faerun, Kara-Tur, and the Endless Waste Many travelers see the Endless Waste as a godforsaken hellhole, a land at best forgotten, at worst excised completely from the map. Aside from a few curiosities and hardy breed of horses, they see nothing of value in the Endless Waste. These travelers are universally wrong. By dividing east from west, the Endless Waste plays a significant role in the development of both Faerun and Kara-Tur. Without it to divide the two lands, each would not have developed its distinctive cultures. To a great extent, the formidable barriers of climate and geography cause this separation. The Endless Waste has earned its name for good reason. Brave travelers who would dare journey from east to west (or vice-versa) must face cold deserts and steppes almost as desolate as deserts, for all the meager forage they provide. There are steep- sloped dusty mountains, thick stands of birch and swamp, peaks that tower above the sun, crumbling glacial fields, and icy flat expanses of tundra. Many of these hazards are on a scale far more expansive than the traveler had ever imagined. The sheer physical distance also serves to thwart most magical means. Traveling spells with durations (such as fly) are only of limited use, for

AD&D® 2nd Edition Game and Oriental Adventures Because the cultures, creatures and lands described in The Horde campaign set are affected by both the cultures of east and west, rules from both the standard AD&D 2nd Edition game books and the Oriental Adventures rule book are referenced here. DMs will find it useful to be familiar with both sets of rules, as magical items, spells, 6

or can learn about this new land. To assist you in preparing your players, two of the twenty-four cards contain information characters are likely to know or could easily learn. The first of these cards, A Description of the World, is made to look like a page from an old, illuminated manuscript. This page recounts Vilhiard of Procampur’s descriptions of the lands and peoples of the Endless Waste. It should be given to players who have their characters prowl through libraries and book collections, looking for information, or it can be included as part of a treasure hoard. Using the latter method, you can prompt the players to go investigate this mysterious land. Vilhiard of Procampur, a noted scholar-monk of the god Deneir, carried out many long and dangerous missions to the East under the command of his Hierarch (although the Hierarch is believed to take his commands from the Thultyrl of Procampuri) As one of the god of books’ faithful, “Vilhiard naturally set out his exploits on paper in A Discover of the World. Therein he described the lands covered during his journeys and the peoples he met—although he manages to remain suitably silent about the purposes of his journeys. This book forms the basis of most scholarly Western knowledge of the Endless Waste, aside from the veiled hints of a few welltraveled wizards. Vilhiard’s work is by no means perfect. During his explorations the doughty monk saw many things that beggared description, either for their sheer amazement or lack of adequate words in Thorass. Not one to be put off so lightly, Vilhiard has done his best to describe these sights in roundabout ways. This and clumsy abridgement of his original manuscript have resulted in many garbled and half-true accounts of his travels. Furthermore, Vilhiard’s generally accurate observations are often confused with the wild stories of traders, many of whom hear these stories only by second-or third-hand. The second card, the one labelled Players’ Map, lists on the back many of the more interesting legends, lies, and rumors characters will hear. Give this card to the players if they take the trouble to ask around the marketplaces for more information. The Players’ Map also represents things the characters can learn through their inquiries. It

the distances to cover are still too great. Flying devices, while convenient, face other difficulties. The flyer may be confronted by mountain ranges with peaks reaching beyond the limits of oxygen or forced to battle hordes of flying monsters. Instantaneous transfers (teleport) are also very difficult, given the need to know the target location. Few men, mostly powerful wizards, are so familiar with the lands of both Faerun and Kara-Tur to accomplish such a feat. Flying ships are rare (to say the least). The majority of travelers must travel by foot, horse, or wagon. Physical separation has led to the widely divergent cultures of the Faerun, Kara-Tur, and the Southern Coast. It has in turn created unique cultures throughout the Endless Waste. The. settled societies often adopt characteristics and attitudes of whichever nation is closer. Thus Mulhorand and Durpar strongly influence Semphar, while Tabot affects Ra-Khati. The nomads, wandering across the steppes, acquire characteristics of all cultures and blend them into a unique stew of beliefs and behaviors. The nomads greedily eye the great riches of Shou Lung so the two lands have often come in contact. As the furthest outpost of Muhjein culture from the south, Semphar, too, has influenced the tribes of the center. For Faerun, however, the closed lands of Thay and Mulhorand, along with the formidable Rashemen, serve as barriers to the exchange of ideas and goods. The masters of the Golden Way tightly control what little trade there is.

A Description of the World When first introducing the Endless Waste into your campaign, players will naturally be curious about what their player characters already know 8

shows the names and general locations of countries, cities, and features-familiar to the caravan masters. Hence, there are large areas of unknown territory. Some of these have been creatively filled while others are simply blank. The Players’ Map is not a road map and characters who rely on it area almost certain to get lost. But, that is what you want to have happen.

An Overview of the Endless Waste The Endless Waste is a large area similar in geography, climate, and culture to the lands of Central Asia during medieval times. It was the time of the great Mongol invasions, when Genghis Khan conquered China and marched his armies as far as Hungary and Poland. It was the time when Marco Polo wrote of his marvelous journeys to the Far East and westerners were just beginning to explore beyond their homelands. It was the time of the Crusades. Of course, the Endless Waste is a fantasy world filled with magic and monsters, so this comparison cannot be followed exactly. It does provide, however, a good beginning for your understanding of the lands described here. Player characters have the chance to be their own Marco Polos or to stop the invasions of barbarian horsemen. The land of the Endless Waste is primarily steppe: flat, dry grassland similar to prairie. Too hot in summer, too cold in winter, and too infertile for farming, the steppe has only a small handful of settlements, mostly clustered around oases and lakes that dot the land. However, the steppe is not devoid of inhabitants. indeed, it supports a large number of nomadic horsemen. These nomads, considered barbarians by foreigners, live in tents and range for hundreds of miles in their seasonal movements. These horsemen are the heart and soul of the steppe. Not all of the Endless Waste is steppe, though. There are mountains, sub-arctic forests, cold deserts, glaciers, tundra, and seas. Some of these are as bleak or worse than the steppe. Others provide comfortable living conditions for permanent settlements. This wide variety is often overlooked. Many travelers only see the harsh emptiness, ignoring the natural wonders and riches of the land.

The Tribes It is said that the land shapes people and they shape it. This is certainly the case for the nomads of the Endless Waste. Dwelling in a land too poor to support towns, the horsemen of the steppe have adopted a roving life, moving from one pasture to another, one oasis to the next. The land has shaped the people, making them tough and hard. In return the tribes have shaped the land. Although it looks open and endless, the steppe has invisible boundaries. Each tribe has its territory, protected from others. These, and the different customs that distinguish, each group, have left their impact. Foreigners and outsiders often view the nomads of the Endless Waste as a single people. This is far from the truth. The barbarians are divided into many different tribes, each with its own customs, alliances, and hatreds. The complete list of tribes is given below. Those listed in italics have more information in the encyclopedia section. The other tribes are described in the Kara-Tur campaign set. Commani Dalat Gur Khassidi Naican Oigur Tuigan Zamogedi


Fankiang Guychiang Igidujin Kahghun Pazru ki T’aghur Tsu-tsu

the yurt is screened off for the master’s bedroom, another screen normally hides the pantry. Extra rugs and cloth are piled in bundles around the walls. Meats are hung from the roof poles, out of the reach of the family dogs. The yurt is not the only thing important to the nomad’s life. The horsemen of the steppe are herdsmen and hunters. Thus, the horse is vital to them. Nomad horses are specially bred to be strong and hardy. They live and thrive on the meager grasses of the steppe, a diet that would weaken other steeds. They have tough constitutions, able to survive the freezing winters and burning summers. They are strong and can carry a rider at a gallop for hours. The horses are important for far more than riding. Mare’s milk—turned to curd, dried, fermented, or plain—is an important food, along with horse meat. In times of great hardship, even mare’s blood is drunk. Horse hide is turned into leather buckets, sacks, bowls, and bags. Horses are needed for war, and horses measure part of a man’s wealth. Horses are not the only animal raised by the tribes. Sheep, cattle, and oxen are common throughout the steppe. Camels are used, particularly near the dryer regions of the Quoya Desert. In the high mountain regions, yaks, adapted to the cold conditions, form the backbone of the herds. From all of these animals comes milk, meat, leather, and wool. The nomads eat what they can get and most of them can only get the same thing. As said before, mare’s milk is a staple. It is used in several different ways. Most common is the fermented drink kumiss, which is mildly alcoholic. The milk is also curdled and eaten as a soup or porridge. The curds are dried and powdered for long storage. When needed it is mixed with water, milk, or blood to make a thick paste. Meat is the other main food of the nomads. Almost any kind of meat is eaten-horse, beef, mutton, antelope, goat, dog, even rats in times of famine. Meats are either roasted over a fire or boiled in salted water. Sausages and sun- dried jerky, called charqui, are the ways to preserve meat for the campaign. Little beyond milk and meat is eaten. The nomads do not grow crops. The few fruits and vegetables they eat are gathered from the wild. These

Tribal Life For all the differences between the tribes, dayto-day life of a tribesman varies little from one group to the next. Indeed it is the common features that fool outsiders into thinking the tribes are all one. The center of the tribesman’s life is the tent. Called a yurt, it is a round dome. The straight walls are made from a trellis-like frame of slats, tied together with leather thongs. These frames are covered with long, thick, felt rugs. The roof is made from poles, like rafters, that sit on the tops of the walls. These are fastened to curved braces at the top to form the roof and dome cap. Like the walls, the dome is covered by thick, felt rugs. A special piece covers the dome cap. This rug can be opened and closed as a smoke hole in the roof. Of course, being nomads, the whole yurt is collapsible and portable. When taken down (which takes about two hours), the yurt can be carried by three camels or four horses. Arriving at the new camp, the yurt can be raised in three hours by two people. It is solid, able to withstand strong winds or even a tiger on the roof! For the nomads of the steppe, the yurt is a very practical home. A single yurt is home to an entire family, which is much more than just mom, dad, and the kids. A household normally has grandparents, parents, children, and perhaps poor aunts and uncles, along with guests and visitors. A typical yurt has six to ten occupants, but on special occasions could accommodate forty or fifty people. Inside, the floor of the yurt is covered with more rugs (except in poor homes), as are the walls. Cushions are used for sitting and sleeping, although there might be one small, collapsible bed for the head of the household. One section of 10

are mostly limited to berries and wild onions. Rice is a special treat, bought from merchants. Tea, brought from Shou Lung, is expensive but very popular. It is never drunk plain but is usually laced with salt and milk. In some tribes, it is served with butter. The nomads are a wild and colorful lot. Mustaches and beards are common on men. Men either keep their hair short or shave the tops of their heads and let the sides and back grow long. Long hair is always braided. The people’s faces are heavily lined and weatherbeaten. Although each tribe has different patterns, colors, and traditions for clothing, the basic garb is the same throughout the steppe. It consists of a long tunic that reaches below the knee, trousers, and soft leather boots. The tunic, called a kalat, is made of cotton or wool, depending on season. In winter, a del, a tunic of leather covered by cloth, may be added. Either can be decorated with bright stripes, embroidery, or furs. The trousers are made of leather or wool and are loose and baggy. Men and women dress alike. Hats vary greatly from tribe to tribe, each having its own traditional style. One might wear a kolpak, a tall, pointed cap with flaps for the ears and neck. Some women wear a paranji, a head-cloak. Unmarried women wear a saukele, a tall cone decorated with scarves, silver, and beads, at festivals. Others wear a kupba, a bowl-shaped hat. Finally, completing the outfit are accessories. Nearly everyone, men, women and children, carry a small knife for everyday use. Silver or gold bracelets, belts, and necklaces are common. Since hair is usually braided, ornaments are often fixed to the ends. For entertainment, the men organize huge hunts, shooting game from horseback. Hunting falcons are prized possessions. Horse races, archery contests, and wrestling are popular activities. At night, stories, songs, and poetry are told to entertain young and old.

The ordu is ruled by a khan, the lord of the ordu. The title of khan is hereditary. A khan can only come from the ruling class, the noyans. A tribe is made of many ordu. Normally there is no sole leader of a tribe. Instead, each khan does as he pleases, so long as it does not interfere with the other ordu of the tribe. The khans rely on a complex web of blood ties, marriage, and obligations to ensure peace, harmony, and protection from others. Disputes are typically settled in favor of the more powerful khan, determined mostly by who is allied to whom. Thus the khan of a small ordu might have great honor and prestige because he has the support of a more powerful khan. The khan is not the greatest title that can be attained. At rare moments in history, when faced by an outside threat or when a charismatic leader arises, the khans may “elect” a khahan, or great khan. Once given, the title cannot be taken away, except by force. The khahan is the ruler of all the khans and it is a title of great prestige and power. The title normally goes to the khan with the most power and political savvy. The selection of a khahan is backroom politics at its finest, not unlike the nominating process for a presidential candidate. Unlike khan, the title of khahan is not passed from father to son. The khahan will indicate who his successor should be, but upon the khahan’s death, the khans gather again to elect a khahan. Normally a khahan is only the khahan for a single tribe. His authority is not recognized by other tribes. However, a single khahan can unite many tribes through conquest and diplomacy. Conquered tribes become his to rule. Other tribes may place themselves under his rule, either out

Tribal Organization The different tribes of the steppe also tend to follow the same internal organization. First, there is the yurt, ruled over by the head of the household. A number of yurts grouped together become an obogh, a village of sorts. Three or four obogh normally make up a small ordu (horde). 11

The Horseman Warrior Many nations and many armies make the claim to have the finest cavalry or the most splendid horsemen of all the Realms. None, however, are born and raised in the saddle as thoroughly as the nomads of the Endless Waste. From the age of three or four, boys and girls are taught to ride. Bows and arrows are given as toys. Children of both sexes are expected to be accomplished shots. By the time a boy is considered an adult at 16, he should be a skilled rider and good, if not excellent, archer. However, archery and riding are not all a warrior must know. Each man is expected to be skilled in the light lance, saber, and pole-lasso. The latter is a long pole, 12 to 15 feet in length, with a loop of rope fixed on the end. The rider slips the noose over his target and then pulls the loop shut. The pole-lasso is a herdsman’s tool for catching horses and livestock. The warriors have found it useful for capturing prisoners. The armor a warrior wears depends, as in most lands, on his resources. Each man is expected to provide his own equipment, so armor ranges from simple to quite elaborate. For poorer warriors, typical armor is a leather kalat, heavily padded (the equivalent of leather armor). This fits like a long robe, reaching below the knee. A fur cap is worn instead of a helmet. Warriors sometimes use a light, round shield of wicker. With wealth and position comes better armor. Chain mail tunics are sometimes found, bought from western traders. Of heavy armors, the most frequently worn is scale mail. Most of the scale mail found in the Endless Waste is of Sempharan, Khazari, or Shou origin. Very little is actually made by the nomads themselves. In combat, the warriors of the steppe fight almost entirely from horseback. They prefer to act as horse archers, attacking the enemy from a distance. When their foe charges, they retreat, avoiding melee. To some this makes them cowardly, but it is a clever strategy. They suffer few losses compared to their enemies. Because the nomads are so skilled at horse archery, they suffer only one-half the normal penalty (fractions rounded down) when firing from the back of a moving horse. This makes them a formidable foe in mass combat, since they can attack from a distance and then escape pursuit.

of friendship or fear. In time, a khahan can assemble a mighty nation of warrior horsemen. This is what the countries around the steppe fear. At this point, it has not happened for such a long time that most rulers have forgotten just how dangerous the steppe horsemen can be.

The Woman’s Place On the surface, steppe society seems verymale dominated. Positions of importance, such as khan, are held by men. The warriors are men. Men watch the flocks. Women do most of the domestic work: making cloth, cooking, dying, sewing, even butchering meat. It seems that there is little place for female adventurers here. However, steppe society is actually much less restricted by gender than it appears. In many ways, the nomads treat women as equals. Girls and boys are both trained in archery. Women own goods even after marriage. Divorce, while frowned upon, can be started by either the man or the woman. Although women are seldom elected to be khan or command armies, it is not unknown. The wives and mother of a khan often serve as advisors. If the male head of the household dies, his wife often assumes control of affairs. By custom she is required to marry his brother or her stepson, but she is not required to give up her position. Women, warriors are accepted as equals by the other fighters in the ordu. When the yurts are under attack, all those who can use a bow are needed. It is not a time to worry about sex. Thus, female player characters will find acceptance among the Tuigan. Indeed, they may discover less discrimination and harassment among the “barbarians” than among “civilized” men. 12

Religion As a nomadic society, the tribesmen of the steppe have simple religious beliefs. Two gods, both elemental lords, are central to their beliefs. The most powerful and respected is Teylas, lord of the sky and storms (Akadi in Faerun). Teylas is the god of heaven. He watches over the nomads, sends rains, gives the people blessings and protects them from evil spirits. When he is angry he sends powerful thunderstorms to strike down his enemies. The other major god is Etugen, goddess of the earth (Grumbar in Faerun). She is the source of many of the blessings on the people. She causes herds to increase and protects against some diseases. She provides good pastures. In addition to these two, the tribes believe in a number of lesser gods and spirits. The beast cult of horses is particularly important. An aspect of Eldath is venerated, since water is so important. Selune is known for her connection to the moon. Malar, god of the hunt, is known. Important places (mountain peaks and oases) also have spirits who must be venerated. The nomads have no evil gods. Misfortunes and ills are either the work of evil spirits or the result of displeasing a god. Many of the tribesmen’s customs and taboos are intended to ward off evil spirits. The nomads are very open-minded and tolerant about foreign religions. So long as a traveler obeys tribal laws, the horsemen don’t care who or what the foreigner worships. This attitude has caused several outside cults to gain small footholds among the nomads. It is possible, though not always likely, to find priests of virtually any god practicing among the nomads. The majority of nomad priests are shamans. Treat shamans as non-specific clerics from the AD&D® 2nd Edition game rules. In addition, there are some specialty clerics to Teylas (Akadi) and Etugen (Grumbar). The powers of these elemental cults are described in FORGOTTEN REALMS™ Adventures. Other prominent specialty clerics include those of the Horse Cult and Tiger Cult. Both of these have the powers of beast cults as described in FORGOTTEN REALMS Adventures.

Their understanding of the theories of magic has not developed so far as to separate the two. Thus, wizards are given the same titles and respect as shamans. The nomad wizards consider themselves shamans, in touch with the spirits as much as true shamans. As a result, they tend to add mumbo-jumbo and unnecessary steps to their spell casting, calling upon spirits to carry out their will. The majority of nomadic wizards are general mages. Specialists are most often diviners, enchanters, or conjurers. Necromancers and illusionists are rare.

Thieves Although nearly all the nomads can be classed as bandits and raiders, professional thieves are rare among the tribes. There simply isn’t enough for them to do. Little use is made of locks or traps to protect goods, yurts can’t be climbed like walls, and there aren’t that many languages to read. Thief types that do exist tend to specialize in moving silently and hiding in shadows. Often they assume useful and valued roles in the tribe as scouts and guides.

Customs and Taboos The lives of the nomads are carefully controlled and regulated by a web of traditions, customs, laws, and taboos that have come up over the centuries. Some of these arise from the harsh conditions of their lives. Some are based on a fear of evil spirits and monsters. Some have no understandable source, but are the “proper thing to do.” Not every law or tradition of nomad life can be listed here. However, the examples below can give

Magic For the nomads there is little difference between shamanistic powers and magical powers. 13

other man. (If you do, it means that man is a criminal.) l Do not spit food on the ground. (This is an insult to the gods who gave you this blessing.) l If food falls on the ground, do not pick it up. (The food has been stolen by an evil spirit.) l Strangers must not touch children on the head. (Strangers are unholy and will curse the child.) l When a man dies in his yurt, it must be purified before anyone can live there. (Evil spirits will gather at the yurt unless they are driven away.)

Useful Sayings

color to meetings between the player characters and nomads. A rationale for the custom (as might be given by a native) is offered in parentheses after each. l It is forbidden to step over a fire or place a knife in it. (You will insult/hurt the fire spirit and we will not have good fortune.) l A man who steals a khan’s horse will be killed. A man who steals a commoner’s horse will be beaten. (It is a greater crime to steal from one’s lord.) l A man who breaks his oath to the khan will be executed in the wilderness. (There no one can find the body and give it a proper burial.) l You must not wash your clothes in the river. (Water, our mother, is precious and must not be polluted.) l Do not dry clothes in the sun. (You will offend the sun god.) l It is wise to hide when there is thunder and lightning. (The sky god sends lightning to punish those who are evil.) l If you see a wolf when starting a journey, do not kill it. (It is a good omen.) l Do not kill snakes. (They are sent by the dragon god.) l When you sell a horse, keep his halter. (You must do this or you will have bad luck.) l It is bad luck to sell mare’s milk. (This is a blessing from our gods.) l It is death to step on the threshold of a khan’s yurt. (It is a great insult. You step on the neck of your lord.) l Do not touch the bow or arrows of another man. (You will curse his weapons.) l Never punish a person with a horsewhip. (Only slaves are treated this way.) l Never bring a horsewhip into the yurt of an-

The following are proverbs used by the nomads. Used in NPC conversations or messages, these can add spice and atmosphere to an ordinary encounter. l The Shou do everything according to their money, but we plan everything according to our luck. l The sign of an evil wife is that she does not know the customs. l Are you well? (As a greeting) l No tea, no face, no pride. l Our friendship has been raised. (As a toast) l Consultation is necessary for decisions, but from consultation comes the leaking of secrets. l If you said yes, you cannot now say it hurts. l Do not lead a man along a single path or he will always follow the same route. l A man who tells the truth should have one foot in the stirrup. l The greatest misfortune is to lose one’s father when young or one’s horse during a journey. l Grass is for animals and meat is for man. If you eat grass, you will not have a strong body.

Foreigners Among the Nomads Although the nomads have a strong tradition of hospitality, they are a very prejudiced group. Each tribe considers itself superior to all others, particularly strangers from outside the steppe. While travelers are treated politely, they are never considered equals to any member of the tribe. Thus, a powerful lord from Cormyr would discover that even his Gur guide is given precedence over him. Short of making a scene, there is little the lord could do. 14

The situation is worse still for nonhumans. The tribes have very little contact with dwarves, elves, or the like. When they do meet, the nomads tend to treat these races like subhuman beasts. This, naturally, has created a great deal of friction and animosity between the demihumans and the nomads.

The Countries The Endless Waste is not all wild, nomadic horsemen. Around the edges of this great expanse are a number of countries. Each has its own characteristics and impact on the nomads of the steppe. Most of the countries and their cities and towns are described in the encyclopedia sections of these booklets. An overview of each is given here to acquaint you with these lands. At the western edge of the Endless Waste are the lands of Sossal, Narfell, Rashemen, Thay, and Thazalhar. The inhabitants of Sossal keep to themselves, although they have a few small trading outposts

on the Yal Tengri, or Great Ice Sea. What little is known of them can be found in the FORGOTTEN REALMS™ Campaign Set. Once Narfell was a great empire that extended its reach into the steppe. Today it is a much smaller land. Some maps show its border as far east as Nathoud, but in truth these eastern regions are unsettled wasteland. The Nars have had little influence on the lives of the nomads. Indeed, they have become nomads themselves.


rival of Semphar. Murghom is under the influence of ancient Mulhorand and is so only semiindependent. Its greatest asset is the Mountains of Copper. Refined ore is shipped from there. Most goes to Mulhorand, but some is carried by traders to the Ejen Horo where it is sold to the horsemen. More information can be found on Murghom in the encyclopedia sections and in FR10: Old Empires. The Caliphate of Semphar is a mighty nation and one of the most influential of the region. Once a state of Mulhorand, it has long since established its own independence. Semphar has become an outpost of the Muhjein, the civilizations of Durpar and the southern coast. Semphar’s greatest asset is its position. It is the conduit through which the majority of trade between east and west flows. To the western nations, Semphar is the exotic last outpost before stepping off into the great unknown. To Shou Lung, Semphar is the last barely-civilized land before venturing into the realms of barbarians. Trade carried on the Silk Road begins and ends in Dhaztanar, home of the Caliph. Because of all this trade, Semphar is quite wealthy. Accompanying the wealth has come learning and art. Semphar is noted for its universities, magical colleges, brilliant craftsmen, and exotic goods. To the nomads, Semphar is a land of wonders. Sempharan merchants supply the tribes with many of the goods the nomads need. These include sugar, coffee, herbs, metals, paper, cloth, and pottery. In exchange the nomads sell livestock, wool, leather, and gems from the northern mountains. More information on Semphar is in the encyclopedia sections of these books. Solon was once a substantial kingdom of the Raurin Desert, formed from the collapse of the Imaskari Empire, millennia ago. Now Solon is little more than a single city, ruled over by a thoroughly evil lich, Amchubar Devayam. The land is avoided by nearly all merchants and travelers, except the boldest or most foolhardy. More information on Soloncan be found in the encyclopedia sections of these books. Ra-Khati is the most unusual of all lands surrounding the Endless Waste. Fearful of outsiders, Ra-Khati has isolated itself from all outside con-

More information on Narfell can be found in FR9: The Bloodstone Lands. Of all the western lands, Rashemen has the longest and most accessible border with the Endless Waste. In the past, Rashemen has claimed the territory as far as the Lake of Mists, although now it is restricted to the mountain slopes. Both the Thekel Gap and the plain north of Mulptan have been traditional routes of invasion for the barbarian hordes. The Rashemenites have built Citadel Rashemar in the Thekel Gap to protect their lands. These preparations, along with the reputation of the witches of Rashemen, have discouraged most nomad raids. The nomads trade with Rashemen, exchanging livestock, leather, pelts, and plunder taken from Shou caravans for metal and fire wine. Most of the goods bought by Rashemenites are then sold to the lands of the west. More information on Rashemen can be found in the FORGOTTEN REALMS™ Campaign Set and FR6: Dreams of the Red Wizards. Thay is little known to the nomads. The wizards keep to themselves, using their magic to discourage any raids or invasions. More detail on Thay can be found in FR6: Dreams of the Red Wizards. Because Thazalhar is a dead land and so close to Thay, the nomads have never explored or raided it. What little is known of Thazalhar can be found in FR6: Dreams of the Red Wizards. Along the southern edge of the Endless Waste are several countries that have had a larger impact on the nomadic tribes. These countries, from west to east, are Murghom, Semphar, Solon, Ra-Khati, and Khazari. Murghom, separated by the Mountains of Copper and the Shaalhoond from the steppe, is little. known to the nomads. However, it is the major 16

tact. Once traders went to Kushk to buy the gems and wool of that land, but even this trade has come to an end. Ra-Khati is described in greater detail in the encyclopedia and in the adventure FRA1: Stormriders, for use with this set. Khazari is a small land that sits astride the Silk Road. Like Semphar, it derives much of its wealth from the trade that crosses its borders. It is not as well located as Semphar, or as well organized, and so is much less powerful. Khazari has a long history of invasion, both by the nomad armies and Shou Lung. Its culture is a mix of Shou, Tabot, Ra- Khati, and nomad beliefs. Information about Khazari is in the encyclopedia section. Finally, there is Shou Lung, which has had a tremendous impact on the nomads. Attracted by its wealth, might, and learning, the horsemen have adopted many Shou customs and styles. Almost always, however, they modify these to their own tastes. Nomadic language is similar to Shou, scribes use Shou script, and Shou tea and wine are delicacies to the tribesmen. Complete information on Shou Lung is given in the Kara-Tur campaign set.

chiang, the language of Shou Lung. In addition to the nomadic languages, the nations bordering the Endless Waste have a variety of tongues. Murghom and Semphar use muhjuri, a language of the southern coast. Solon uses a dialect of devic, the language of Ulgarth. Khazari and Ra-Khati speak variations of shou chiang, similar enough to be understood, but dissimilar enough to form different languages. The tribes of the Ama Basin (the Pazruki and Issacortae) speak different languages, only vaguely related to eastern imaskari. A breakdown of the different language groups is given below.

Languages In a land as large and varied as the Endless Waste one expects to find a large number of different languages, making communication difficult, if not impossible. Surprisingly, while there are many languages, making oneself understood is not as hard as it might seem. Each tribe on the steppe has its own language, but all these languages have a common root in ancient Imaskari, the empire that once extended its rule into the southern steppe. From this root the languages of the tribes have divided into three main groups: Northern, Southern, and Eastern. The northern group was influenced by the Raumatharan Empire. Its speakers are mostly grouped along the western edge of the Endless Waste. The southern group remains truest to ancient imaskari, although it has adopted much from Muhjuri. Most of the southern group speakers are located in the central regions of the steppe, south of the Kora Shan. The eastern group encompasses those tribes along the border with Shou Lung and north of the Kora Shan. This language has been influenced heavily by shou

Imaskari Northern



Khassidi Commani Naican * Raumvira

Tuigan Naican * Dalat Oigur * Quirish *

Zamogedi Gur Fankiang Oigur * Quirish * Khaghun


Shou Chiang


Murghom Semphar

Shou Lung Khazari Ra-Khati

Solon (Devic) Pazruki Issacortae Siremun (Siric dwarvish)

* Normally bilingual


different speakers. The following are some simple suggestions for creating specific accents for the different dialects of the nomads. Northern Imaskari: Roll your r‘s and make the vowels broader and more round. Speech can be kept curt and short. Southern Imaskari: Make consonants hard and biting, particularly “c” and “k.” The letter “l” is “lh,” so “like” becomes “lhike:’ You can put sentences together in the wrong order— “I am hungry” becomes “I hungry am” or “It is dangerous” is turned to “It dangerous is.”

To determine the general understandability of one group to another, consult the Language Table (found on the cards). Find the language used by the character speaking. From it trace the shortest path to the language of the other person (or thing). Count the dots crossed, including the space for the listener’s language. For each dot or space, subtract 10% from the overall comprehension. (The speaker, of course, has 100% fluency in his native language.) The final percentage serves as a guide to role- playing the encounter. Suggested effects for various percentages are listed below.

Eastern Imaskari: Try to talk nasally, in the back of your throat. Long “i.” and “e” can be drawn out. (“Heere” instead of “here.“) Avoid asking direct questions that need yes or no answers.

Always remember that things like languages, accents, and pantomiming are tools you can use for role-playing. Use them to bring color and life to encounters, as story-telling aids. On the other hand, don’t let the props get in the way of your game. If not knowing the language hampers the adventure or if you spend more time trying to get the accent right than getting the information across, stop using them. Your players would rather play than deal with hassles.

100% Perfect fluency. No hesitations or confusions based on understanding the language. 90% Slight hesitations, occasional awkward pronunciations, but very little confusion of meaning. Speaker has a slight accent. 80% Noticeable hesitations and sometimes misuses a word. Accent allows listener to place origin of speaker. 50% Conversations are simple and often require roundabout phrases to get the point across. Accent can create difficulties in understanding words. Pantomime is useful. 30% Basic concepts can be communicated, although pantomime is needed. Conversations tend to be child-like. 10% Speech limited to a few useful phrases or words (“I am hungry. How much does it cost? What is that? Where is ...?). Answer is likely not to be understood. Big, broad gestures, pointing, and pantomime are essential.

A History of the Steppe Another common mistake of travelers and scholars is to think that the Endless Waste has always been as it is. They assume the tribes have always existed and always will. Without the rich record of books and scrolls, a complete written history, it is easy to understand why this mistake has occurred. In truth the history of the Endless Waste is one of invasion and conquest. Over the centuries, empires have risen and fallen in these lands, some claiming the steppe, some boiling out of it. The earliest of all known records describes the great empire of Imaskar. Ruled by powerful wizards, this empire was centered in what is now the Raurin Desert. Its borders were vast, reaching from Khazari to present-day Thay and across the Shalhoond into the steppe. What caused its fall is unclear, but from its ashes rose Mulhorand, Solon, and Ra-Khati.

For those DMs who feel up to the task, encounters can be livened up by adding accents to the 18

These three were the next empires to rule in this area. Solon and Mulhorand struggled for control of the Gbor Nor. Finally victorious, Mulhorand expanded into the Semphar upland. Solon was left with the desert lands south of the Raurin Alta. The next major invasion occurred in the north with the establishment of the Raumathar Empire. This nation drove into the Endless Waste from Narfell and Rashemen, extending as far as Sossal in the north and the Lake of Mists to the south. Shortly after Raumathar’s founding, the nomadic tribes were further weakened by the expansion of the Li Dynasty in the east. The Shou warriors seized the lands from the Koryaz Mountains to the Rusj river, and the mountains of Khazari. Thus things remained until the arrival of the Kalmyks. Arising out of the Hagga Shan, the Kalmyk nation drove back the Li empire into the heart of the Chukei Plateau. Taking advantage of the empire’s weakness, Khazari rebelled and declared its independence. In the end the Kalmyks were destroyed by their own success. Internal squabbling stopped them from overrunning northern Shou Lung. It was then that the Copper Demon of Tros appeared and seized the eastern regions of the Kalmyk empire. The remaining Kalmyks split into two empires, those north of the Kora Shan and those south of it. The fall of the Copper Demon marked the resurgence of Shou Lung, now ruled by the Kao Dynasty. The northern Kalmyks made peace with the Shou, becoming a vassal state of the Kao. The southern Kalmyks, now called the Suren, resisted. In the campaigns that followed, Khazari, Solon and Semphar fell under Kao rule. Pushed out by the Kao, the Suren expanded to the west and for years harried the eastern border of Raumathar. When the final war between Narfell and Raumathar occurred, the Suren drove the Raumatharans from the steppe. Continuing their advance, the barbarian horde overwhelmed most of modern Narfell before it was stopped. For a few decades things were peaceful. Then the Suren marched again, this time conquering the weakened lands of the Kao. Khazari was overrun, then Ra-Khati was conquered. Semphar, cut off from the east, established its own independence. As before, the empire of the Suren fragmented and lost control over its outlying conquests.

Again the situation in the Endless Waste became quiet. The tribes battled among themselves while the other nations were occupied with concerns of their own. Finally, the Kao Dynasty embarked on a campaign to reclaim its lost territory. Khazari was taken and the border was pushed out as far as the Merket Oasis, but the armies advanced no further. Semphar gradually fell under the sway of Mulhorand. The stalemate was broken when the power of Mulhorand over the east was finally shattered. Semphar rebelled, establishing its independence. Murghom was attacked by the Havi, a large tribe of the Ejen Horo region. Although the nomads were stopped in the Mountains of Copper, their attacks contributed much to the eventual reduction of Mulhorand in the east. The final act of this period was the invasion of the Durparans. Crossing the Raurin Desert, a dissident force from Durpar seized the weak state of Solon. The city easily fell to the army of the evil Amchubar Devayam. With Solon in his grasp, Devayam attempted to conquer the isolated RaKhati. Nearly successful, he was finally beaten and forced to return to Solon. Since this time, the tribes of the Endless Waste and the surrounding lands have been at relative peace. There have been numerous small wars, but no major changes in the balance of power have occurred. That is about to change.

Yamun Khahan and the Horde There has been only one recent event of any note, but it is one that will have major repercussions throughout the Realms, east and west. Three years ago, a noyan named Yamun killed his father and became khan of the Hoekun, a mi19

march of conquest. The story of the great Horde wars is described in the Empires Trilogy: Horselords, Dragonwall, and Crusade.

The Army of Yamun Khahan One of the keys to Yamun’s success in battle is his army. Composed almost entirely of horsemen from the steppe, Yamun has assembled a powerful striking force. Few opponents can match his warriors for their discipline, speed, hardiness, and ferocity. The first secret of the army is its organization. Yamun has changed the Tuigan from a rabble bent on raiding to a military machine. Every soldier in the army has a place and rank. The basic unit is the trooper. Each trooper is assigned to an arban, a group of ten men. Should one man commit a crime, all in the arban suffer. If one man is a hero, all in the arban benefit. Each arban chooses a sergeant to command them. Ten arbans are organized into a jagun, 100 men. Again, the jagun acts as a single group. The sergeants choose a commander for their jagun and must follow his orders. Ten jaguns are grouped into a minghan, 1,000 men. Each minghan is commanded by a khan, usually of the same ordu. Ten minghans become a tumen, 10,000 men. This is the largest unit in the Tuigan army. The commanders of the tumens are appointed by Yamun Khahan himself. These men are given great honors and responsibilities. Finally there are the army commanders. These posts are given to Yamun’s sons and his most trusted generals. An army commander may have anywhere from two to six or more tumens under his control, twenty to sixty thousand warriors. In addition to these troops, Yamun Khahan has a special bodyguard, the Kashik. These men are the elite of the army. Divided between the day guards and the night guards, the kashik are easily identified by their black kalats, a uniform no other trooper wears. Yamun maintains a full tumen of Kashik, 10,000 men under his own command. It is with this army that Yamun Khahan intends to conquer the world. Prisoners taken in battle are given the choice to serve Yamun or die. Thus, with each victory he adds more men to his ranks. Potentially, his armies could become unstoppable.

nor clan of the Tuigan tribe. This act, while unusual, would not have been noteworthy had it not been for the character and ambition of the newly declared khan. Yamun was not just another khan; he was a strong and charismatic leader. He was also cunning and an inspired military commander. Gaining control of the Hoekun, he organized them into a small but powerful fighting force. Aided by his allies the Naican, Yamun began a deliberate campaign to conquer or ally with the remaining ordu of the Tuigan. With each addition, he increased the size of his army and his ambitions. Soon the majority of the Tuigan recognized his rule and he had the authority to enforce his election to the title of khahan. Thus, Yamun Khahan, Emperor of the Tuigan, appeared on the scene. Now equipped with a powerful army and experienced generals, the khahan turned his attentions on the neighboring tribes. First to fall were the Commani, then the Oigur. In quick succession the remaining tribes either fell or pledged their loyalty. Now, Yamun Khahan has done what no man has done for hundreds of years. He has united the diverse tribes of the steppe and organized them into a powerful fighting force. Recent Events

Yamun Khahan’s ambitions do not end here, however. Not content to be emperor of the steppe, he intends to conquer the world. And for once, a would-be ruler just might have the power to accomplish his goals. Whatever the outcome, whether Yamun Khahan lives or dies, the horsemen of the steppe will never be ignored again. The material in this set describes the situation in the Endless Waste just before Yamun begins his 20

Encyclopedia of the Endless Waste This section of The Horde contains descriptions of places and things found throughout the Endless Waste and adjacent lands. Here are described strange ruins, monasteries, bizarre mountains, trade routes, and the cities and towns to be found along them. In addition to locations, there are other entries that describe uncommon features that can be found in various places throughout the Endless Waste. All entries are listed alphabetically, using the same names as are listed on the maps. The descriptions are organized into one, two, or three sections. The first section always appears. This gives a description of what player characters might see, hear, and discover upon investigating this place, item, or group. This section may describe more than is obvious on casual examination, so be sure to read through the entry before revealing anything to your players! The second section may or may not appear, depending on the entry. This contains specific game information—statistics, magical items, monsters, strengths, special encounters and other things necessary to actually role-play any encounters in the section. There will sometimes be references to information on other pages or in Volume II. These are provided for your convenience. The third section, which again may or may not appear, provides adventuring ideas. These ideas are for short scenarios or events. They are not intended to be strung together to form a single adventure, but an idea may give you the starting point for a larger story of your own devising.

Katakoro Plateau. An extension of the Yehimal, the A-Ling Shan has a number of notable glaciers (Shigatse Glacier and the Glacier of the Dragon). Most of the mountain range is unsettled and unexplored. The only known pass is the yarlhang La at the north end of the range, where the Old Caravan Road passes through on its way to Kushk. The Jumpa Gorge on the western side has no known crossing points below the pass and so the only way into the A-Ling Shan is through the eastern valleys. As part of the Yehimal, the A-Ling Shan is a jumbled maze of high, frozen peaks. Best known of these is the Mahamsaratsu Shan on the eastern side. The mountains range from 17,000 to 24,000 feet in height. Glaciers reach almost to the edges of the range. At the foot of these are sometimes lakes formed by melting water trapped behind dikes of earth. These present a constant risk of flash flood to the people who dwell below. Although small in relation to the rest of the Yehimal; the A-Ling Shan is noted for its fearsome monsters which raid the surrounding lands for food. Yeti and dragons are rumored to make their homes on the cold slopes of this land.

Ahs Trango Shan Ahs Trango Shan or South Guardian Peak is one of two mountains that marks the eastern border of Khazari, the other being Nas Trango Shan. The South Guardian is the lesser of the two, standing only 15,641 feet high. Between the two peaks runs the Repo La, Broken Wall Pass. The Guardian Peaks have been important to the defense of Khazari for centuries, since they overlook the only east-west passage through the northern Katakoro Range. The Silk Road now

A-Ling Shan This mountain range divides the lower lands of the Raurin Desert from the high terrain of the 21

runs between the two mountains. To ensure that trade is protected and the borders of Khazari are secure, both the North and South Guardian peaks are fortified. The southern fort, Luntse Dzong, is the larger of the two. The fortress is built on a shelf of rock projecting from the mountain slope, about 600 feet above the floor of the pass. The fortress is three stories high, with windows and wooden balconies only on the upper stories. The base of the fortress is surrounded by cliffs on three sides and is only reached by a winding, narrow trail. The roofs of the buildings and towers are wood, weighed down by stones. Within the fortress are barracks, storerooms, an armory, a traveler’s hostel, and a temple of the Yellow Mountain Sect. Here, the government and the lamas maintain a garrison of 500 men. These guards collect tolls from all caravans crossing the pass. In exchange for the toll, caravans are protected from bandits and can only stay at the hostel maintained by the monks of the fortress. The mountain valleys beyond the South Guardian Peak are a haven to bandits and dangerous creatures. The most active of these is the bandit leader, Brusha. Operating from a hidden base in the mountains southwest of Ahs Trango Shan, he has been leading raiding caravans for about three years. Brusha styles himself a rebel against the current lord of Khazari, and there are many folktales giving him a noble birth and virtues.

other tales tell of the yeti of the high mountains. Reports came that the caravan never reached the safety of the Luntse Dzong. Just where this treasure is, if it really exists, is a mystery to this day. It could be in any one of the frozen valleys off the pass—or it could be safely hidden away in the storerooms of the fortress. After all, these are only stories told by beggars in the streets.

Alashan This city is one of the five great places of Khazari legend, along with Skardu, Manass, Taghla, and Barkhul. Alashan sits on the western bank of the Kuruk Muren where the Silk Road crosses into Khazari. Here the front range of the Katakoro Mountains breaks, creating a low, broad pass, a natural highway for traders and bandits alike. For almost a thousand years, Alashan has served as a frontier outpost against the horse barbarians. Because of its location, Alashan has developed exceedingly strong fortifications. The town sits behind stone walls at the eastern end of the pass. There are towers at the corners and a large gate house. The center of the city is dominated by a large, fortified palace. In addition to the city fortifications, the Khazari have also built a wall and gate across the top of the pass. All those using the Silk Road must pass through the gate, making taxation much simpler for the prince of Khazari. Because it sits astride the Silk Road, Alashan is a wealthy city. It is home to many merchants and craftsmen. Although it has no organized guild or charter-houses, there are many caravansaries where the caravan masters stay. These men often need extra guards or specialists and will allow travelers to join their caravan for a small consid-

Game Information: There are 300 sohei (q.v. Oriental Adventures), 150 fighters, and 50 monks in the garrison of Luntse Dzong. The monks and sohei are all members of the Yellow Mountain Sect, one of the two rival temple groups currently vying for power in Khazari. The garrison is commanded by Govinda. Brusha the Bandit controls a motley force of 50 to 100 men, the exact number varying with the season and Brusha’s success. Most of these are fighters, but the wily leader has also enlisted the secret support of lamas from the Red Mountain Sect and several dong chang (wizards). Adventure Idea: Following the conquest of Khazari by the Tuigan Horde, a caravan fled from the Yellow Mountain, loaded with precious goods and treasures. As it made its way through Repo La, it was attacked. Some say the bandit was Brusha,


Almorel is a sprawling town. Houses are low and broad, normally only one or two stories in height. Almost all are built of wood taken from the trees growing around the lake. Walls are made from logs, mortared into place. The roofs have broad eaves to provide shelter from the heavy winter snows that blow off the lake. Interiors are warm and cozy, with huge brick woodstoves, white-washed walls, and small glass-paned windows. Most houses have stables and barns built directly off them, reducing the need to go outside during winter. Adjacent to the home are the family gardens and workshops. Wealthier families enclose their properties with a wooden stockade, creating small, rustic villas. The majority of Almorel is human, but there is a small community of dwarves. Brought in when the town was founded, some of the dwarves elected to remain, digging tunnels beneath the town for their homes. These are marked on the surface by wooden mineheads and a small guesthouse for receiving human visitors. By tradition, humans are not allowed into the tunnels and this has led to many interesting rumors. Some hint that the tunnels are more extensive than the town itself. Another rumor claims that the dwarves are not a minority, that large numbers live in secret below the surface. Finally, there are some who believe the dwarves have accidentally found evil underground denizens and are fighting a secret war beneath the surface. In spite of these rumors, the dwarves are skilled smiths and their steel and copper-ware is noted throughout the steppe. Using metal taken from the Mountains of Copper and the mines of Rashemen, the smiths of Almorel make high-quality fittings, weapons, and armor. A few items made every year are believed to have magical properties, but these are kept by the dwarves for their own use. At the center of Almorel is the Raumkreml, a fortress tower built in the time of the Empire. This is a six-story round ziggurat, built of wood. The outside is painted black, so the locals have given the tower the nickname “Chern- kreml” or Black Citadel. The tower is the seat of government for the town. Almorel is ruled by the Mechnik who is the head of the Gospoda, the town council. The current ruler is Mechnik Nikitsky.

eration. Of course, prudent masters insist on testing (through spells, if possible) the loyalty and trustworthiness of any applicants. Because Alashan is so important to Khazari’s trade, a large garrison is maintained here, Normally, 3,000 men are assigned to the pass, manning the fortifications there. Another 4,000 men are held at the palace and patrolling the local countryside. These soldiers are almost entirely footmen, armed with spears and longswords. They carry large wicker shields and wear padded cotton armor. Alashan is governed by Idikut, a wise and cunning man, about 60 years old. He is very loyal to Prince Ogandi, ruler of Khazari. When Yamun Khahan invaded Khazari, he wisely chose to bypass the pass and fortifications of Alashan, striking instead at Manass to the north. By doing so, he was able to exploit Alashan’s greatest weakness, the fact that its defenses are oriented to the west. Once Manass fell, the wall guarding Alashan’s pass could easily be outflanked. This is one of the factors that induced Prince Ogandi to quickly sue for peace.

Almorel Located on the shores of the Lake of Mists, Almorel is one of the major trading cities of the Endless Waste. Founded fifteen-hundred years ago as part of the Raumathar Empire, Almorel has long since become an isolated outpost of the west, the major town of the Raumvira. Because it sits astride the Golden Way, Almorel has outlasted its parent, Raumathar, and has become an important meeting ground for steppe nomads and traders. It is also the last stop for caravans before entering the Endless Waste. 24

Adventure Idea: In recent weeks the humans of Almorel have noticed the absence of many of their dwarven friends and comrades. Smiths who once frequented the market square have been absent during the height of the season. Dwarven playmates have vanished from sight. Even the dwarves on the town council are no longer attending the sessions. Has something happened to them all? Investigation turns up several rumors of strange events happening in the tunnels beneath the town. Those dwarves questioned are too frightened or suspicious in their answers. Most of the citizens dismiss this as rumor. However, when the earth rumbles beneath the surface of the Raumkreml, it is time to act. To solve the mystery, a group of explorers must investigate the secret tunnels of the dwarves. There they discover dread horrors from the great age of Raumathar, horrors created by their ancestors during the final war between Raumathar and Narfell.

Ansi Oasis Sitting at the frontier to Shou Lung, Ansi (whose name means West Protecting Fortress) is little more than a fortified inn built at a well of bitter water. Its importance comes because it just happens to exist at the top of a narrow pass in the hills of the Quoya Desert. Only its close location to the Shou Lung border has saved this oasis from utter obscurity. Ansi is a sad collection of rundown buildings surrounded by a high wall of sun-baked brick. The well produces enough water to irrigate several small fields of melons just outside, but growing the plants is a constant struggle against the climate. The wind blows strongly for a good twothirds of the year, sending sand and dust through the few streets. During the windy season of every year, a dune grows against the western wall, often to the top of the wall itself. Ansi has a population of no more than 100 people. Nearly all of these are of Shou Lung descent. The only businesses in the town are a caravansary, a wool buyer, a hide dealer, several melon growers, and a pair of merchants who buy and sell goods with the nomads who stop at regular times during the year. There is one small temple to the Shou gods, maintained by a lonely priest.

Ama Basin North of the Koryaz Mountains, the Ama Basin is a large area of woodland and swamp. Rich with game, it is the homeland of several semi-nomadic tribes: the Pazruki, Tayanuchi, and Issacortae. In addition, there are a number of other humanoid tribes, much smaller and less organized than the human groups. Game Information: Because the inhabitants of the region are nomadic and the region itself is still mostly unexplored, characters traveling in this area can never be certain of finding the same location twice. For every day spent in the Ama Basin, roll once on the table below to see if the player characters have found anything of interest. Die Roll

01-80 81-85 86-95 96-98



Nothing Wind burial Human tribal camp* Humanoid tribal camp * * Maraloi ruins

Game Information: Although Shou Lung does not claim Ansi or maintain troops there, it still has an interest in all that transpires at the oasis. The owner of the caravansary, Li Kao- teh, is an agent for Shou Lung. While not malicious or evil, he does report any strangers or unusual activity to the imperial censors of Chukei province.

* Pazruki, Issacortae, or Tayanuchi, depending on tribal area (see map of tribal lands). * * Bakemono, hobgoblin, common oni, or ogre. 25

the beacon fire (as it is called) was magically created by Raumathar wizards as part of a series of navigational aids for travelers of the empire. The town of Beacon Cairn is clustered around the base of the rock tower. It is built from the same red shale as the tower itself and easily blends into the base. As traffic on the Spice Road has dwindled over the years in favor of the southern routes, the fortunes of the town have also dwindled. About half of the buildings are complete ruins or seriously decrepit. Some of the ruins are 500 or more years old, but most of the buildings have been abandoned in the last 20 years or less. Beacon Cairn is in the process of becoming a ghost town. Aside from the beacon fire, there is little of obvious interest in Beacon Cairn. The Huhrong of Rashemen keeps a small contingent of the “Fangs of Rashemen” at the town and there is rumored to be at least one witch of Rashemen living here in disguise. However, most of the folk are simple farmers, trying to eke out a living from the hard prairie soil, or merchants trading with

Beacon Cairn The town of Beacon Cairn is the westernmost frontier of Rashemen. It takes its name from the towering pinnacle of rock that rises like a lone sentinel alongside the Golden Way. The rock, a chimneylike tower, stands approximately 500 feet above the surrounding plain. Since the land here is quite flat, Beacon Cairn can be seen for many miles. Even more unusual is the light that shines from its peak at night. A flickering blue-green,


the western-most of the nomadic tribes. In the invasion of the west, the Tuigan Horde first passed south of Beacon Cairn, headed for Thay. News of the close passage of the Horde alarmed the town’s inhabitants and many packed their belongings and fled. After being repulsed from Thay, the riders turned north, passing through the town. The garrison put up no resistance, fleeing to the north to alert Citadel Rashemen. Although no orders were given to raze the village, uncontrolled foraging and some looting have all but destroyed the settlement. Since the wars, Beacon Cairn has been lost to the Horde, which now controls the eastern side of the Sunrise Mountains. Only a few settlers have returned to their village.

out in the Gbor Nor, or Brightstar Lake. The city fills the northern end of the island, the houses built in terraces down the rough slopes of the shore. The ruins extend into the water and below, giving the place the name the Drowned City. Marine lizards bask themselves in the sun at the water’s edge. It is believed Bhaulin was built in the ages of the great Raurin empires, over four thousand years ago. The building style of these ruins is similar to others found in the heart of the Raurin Desert, particularly the ruins of Raudor. Older than Mulhorand, these empires are thought to have also been more powerful than decadent Mulhorand in strange magics and lost arts. Some say powerful wizards kept the desert sands of Raurin at bay. Others claim equally powerful wizards destroyed these empires and transformed the lush Raurin plain to desert. Although ancient, the ruins of Bhaulin are wellpreserved. Most of the buildings are stone or brick that have out-lasted the centuries. Only a few have roofs since the wooden beams have long since crumbled away. The narrow streets are often choked with sections of collapsed wall. At the center of the ruins, on the highest part of the city, are seven minarets of swirling rose-colored stone. Strange wails are heard from these towers, thought to be created by the wind whistling through the finely pierced windows. Because of the bodies found drifting in the leather boats, it is certain someone or something lives in Bhaulin. No one, however, has ever communicated or traded with inhabitants of the island and by normal standards it is deserted. Some returning adventurers have told of battling manlike things in tattered and dirty red robes.

Adventure Idea: The beacon fire atop Beacon Cairn is much more than just a simple navigational aid. The magical flame was created with two purposes, partly to guide travelers, but also to fulfill an ancient prophecy, long since discounted: “Light a flame from the misty shore to the peaks of Graunthil or Narfell shall reign o’er all.” Common knowledge holds the prophecy was metaphorical, negated by the fall of both Raumathar and Narfell. If that’s true, why then has someone been hiring brave souls to go and extinguish the light at Beacon Cairn? Perhaps the prophecy is still in force and someone seeks to raise dead Narfell back to its glory. It’s a thought that raises concern among the lords of Rashemen. They want to know more-is the prophecy true, and if it is, who’s behind the recent attacks on Beacon Cairn?

Bhaluin, the Drowned City Little is known of Bhaluin even by the Sempharans who live along the coasts of the Gbor Nor. It is not that adventurers never return from the ancient ruins; they almost always do— dead, adrift in strange little hide boats. Those that do come back alive only add to the confusion. Their stories are eagerly grabbed up by the curious populace and quickly garbled beyond all recognition. Some adventurers have come back rich beyond imagining: others have returned with no more than what they started with. Most return dead. Bhaulin can only be approached by boat or air, since it is built on a large island about 10 miles 27

The cult’s researches into the nature of life and death have caused it to gather and create a varied collection of art objects and magical items relating to life and death. They have templelaboratories filled with strange elixirs, potions, balms, rods and wands. They also guard these fiercely and have created bizarre creatures to protect their riches.

Bitter Well Oasis At the southern end of the Quoya Desert, the Bitter Well Oasis is a desolate and depressing little water stop. Set on a high plateau, all that marks the site are three small brick buildings, buried to their rooftops in blowing sand. These surround a small, deep well. The water from the well, though drinkable, is tainted with salts and is extremely bitter. Once a trade road ran from Shou Lung to the steppe, passing through this oasis. Now the route is all but abandoned, so that it is not even marked on maps. Of the three buildings that stand here, two are abandoned. The third is an inn, run by the drunkard Ma Chung-ying. A pathetic and miserable soul, he only stays on because the Shou government provides him with a stipend of food and wine. In return, he keeps the well clear of sand and reports any activity of the nomads, which is rare.

Whether these were men or beasts, living or dead, is not clear. The robed figures did seem to be some sort of cult. Game Information: Bhaulin is one of the few remaining strongholds of the Imaskar Empire, although over four thousand years it has become only a ghostly shell of itself. Since that time many other desert kingdoms have risen, claiming to be equal or greater than Imaskar. The most recent of these was the kingdom of Bakar. None have ever truly rivaled Imaskar. Even Bakar was only a pale shadow of that glory. Bhaulin is inhabited by a secret cult of the dead. This cult reveres the dead and seeks ways to preserve life. The group is led by powerful undead creatures, results of this attempt at life extension. The cult members themselves are living humans and lesser versions of undead creatures—members who have died over the centuries and yet preserved their life energy in one unholy form or another. Indeed they have perfected a method of conferring un-life on cultists. The potion of un-life bestows on members a permanent state of un-life. Unusually, the undead and humans mix freely without the usual animosity. For the cult members, there is no distinction, no line, between life and death. Over the centuries, the members have adopted practices to blur the distinction between life and death. Members wear masks and their clothes are ancient and rotten. All have come to shun daylight. They prey on adventurers and the shipwrecked, and the humans also raise edible fungus. Dead strangers are set adrift, since none but cult members are allowed on the island. A dead body is considered just as much a threat as a live one. The cult is rich with symbols of life and death.

Bright Beacon Springs This small settlement is a popular stopping point with caravans traveling the Spice Road and nomads alike. Named for its ponds that shine brightly on a summer’s day, the Springs is a peaceful community. Here, beautiful, cool, and sweet water bubbles up from underneath the Kora Shan and gathers in large ponds fringed with birch; willow, and aspen trees normally found only higher up the slopes or to the north. The water is abundant year-round. In winter one only needs to break the ice to draw fresh water. The water is naturally effervescent and there are claims it is good for rheumatism and arthritis. A settlement of five hundred souls lives around these springs. The people live in houses of wood and stone, scattered in the cooling shelter of the groves. The settlement covers a broad area and is not protected by walls. Settlers here tend to be on 28

good terms with the local tribes. Bandits are rare, and the greatest risk comes from the savage monsters of the Kora Shan. These creatures sometimes make raids on the settlement. Therefore, each house is a small fort and can be shuttered and defended in case of attack. Bright Beacon Spring provides many services necessary to the caravans. There are caravansaries, a smith, a wine merchant, an armorer, a cartwright, a small tannery, a horse market, two temples, and several merchants who sell goods to the nomads. Guides to the caravan route and huntsmen of the Kora Shan base their operations from here. In addition, the town has a spring and fall market fair that attracts merchants and nomads from great distances. At the fair, in addition to the usual assortment of merchants, men come to buy and sell exotic animals, ermine and sable pelts, smoked fish from the Yal Tengri, and rare treasures looted from Winterkeep. Timed to coincide with religious holidays, the market fair is livened by wrestling matches, horse races, and

archery contests. Bright Beacon Springs has a reputation for being a melting pot of cultures and races. The majority of the town is human, but there are a few half-elves from the west, some korobokuru from the forests of Hagga Shan, dwarves up from Almorel, and even spirit folk from the civilized lands of Shou Lung. Each group tends to keep to itself, claiming a spring for it and its kind.


miles. In the short span between surfacing and sinking, though, it transforms the dry, sandy land into a lush oasis. The high walls of the canyon provide shade and trap the moist air at the bottom. Willows, tamarisk, reeds, and vines grow thickly along the banks. The monks carefully irrigate small fields of melons and orchards of peaches. In drier spots they grow millet and oats. The true wonder of the Caves is not the lush oasis, it is the Caves themselves. Each monk claims or carves his own cave out of the soft limestone of the gorge walls. The oldest are at ground level, while later arrivals are forced to live higher up, carving steps in the rock to reach their chosen homes. Inside, the caves tend to be very simple. Most have only a single chamber, but there some that have smaller side rooms. These can even have windows to overlook the canyon floor. Whatever the arrangement, the chambers serve as both home and temple to the monk. Furnishings are kept to a minimum— a simple mat and stone pillow for a bed, a small cooking fire, and some jars for storing food and water. The bulk of the cave is used for prayer and meditation. Walls are painted with religious scenes and large statues are often set at the back wall, looking out the door. Mixed in among the cave mouths are carved niches containing statues of the Celestial Emperor and various sages of the Path. These sages are the same as the Tabotan boddas and the padhrasattvas of Ra-Khati. Most are small figurines, but there is a gigantic figure carved into the rock at the upper end of the gorge. This is a figure of the Celestial Emperor in his serene contemplative majesty seated on his lotus throne. Over 50 feet high, it is set in a huge niche all its own. Not all the caves are occupied. The caves of particularly revered monks are turned into shrines after their deaths, and a few even honor those hermits who attained the status of sage. Others are of such striking beauty that they are used as shrines by all the monks. In addition there are caves set aside as storerooms for the community and others for the rare guests of the monks. The caves are both monastery and hermitage. Unlike many monasteries, there is no official hierarchy. The monks do not meet for sermons or

Brightstar Lake Brightstar Lake is the western name for the lake west of Semphar. It is also known as the Gbor Nor or the Sea of Semphar. See Gbor Nor.

Caves of a Thousand Gods Little known and hard to get to, the Caves of a Thousand Gods is one of the largest and most important hermitages of the Path of Enlightenment, the major religion of Shou Lung and most of the eastern lands. The Caves provide an isolated and tranquil site for monks and lamas of the Path to meditate and cleanse their minds as they strive for total enlightenment. The existence of the Caves is not widely known and the exact location is a carefully kept secret. Some abbots and priests of the Path know the directions to the Caves—but not all. There is a small, secret society of laymen, the Golden Porters, who carry supplies and lead visitors to the monks. They naturally know the route to the Caves. Beyond this, there are only occasional strangers—adventurers and lost travelers—who have found the site. To discourage visitors, the monks of the Caves have spread frightening tales about their powers and the cruel fate that overtakes those who spy on their solitude. The nomads of the region shun the general area of the Caves, believing it to be cursed. Warnings-carved markers, spiritcatchers, and rock paintings— are placed well beyond the actual boundaries of the Caves to warn off the superstitious. The Cave complex is found at the bottom of a narrow gorge. A stream, starting from a spring at the upper end, flows down the floor and eventually disappears back underground after a few 30

prayer. Each holy man prays for enlightenment according to his own ways. Knowledge and learning are encouraged and some of the storerooms are crammed with scrolls of scripture and theology. These the monks study, add comments to, and copy. Work is done communally and all monks are expected to share the labor of the fields and orchards. Vegetables and fruits are preserved or dried and each monk is given a share. Goods from the outside world are kept in the storerooms and given out as needed. The monks of the Caves have one goal—to achieve perfect enlightenment. They have come here to abandon their own lives and the distractions of the world. Since no one reveals the location of the Caves, those monks who actually find it are believed destined to join the community. They are welcomed warmly and instantly treated as one of the brotherhood. No distinction is made between male and female monks. The only absolute rule of the Caves is that a monk who comes here to study must stay for the rest of his life. Some have left, but the Golden Porters have been known to hunt these renegades down and kill them to preserve the secret of the Caves. The hermits themselves are very pacifistic. Although perfectly capable of protecting themselves, fighting would mar their efforts to reach enlightenment. Thus, they will do all they can to avoid conflict. If invaded by strangers, they will patiently submit, knowing full well there will come a time to begin again.

The monks can perform miracles of all types. The hermits of the cave are both character class monks and shukenja. The oldest, and leader out of respect, is Zhi Xian Sheng (Master Willpower). He is a powerful shukenja. The monks are skilled in a mixture of martial arts styles, almost all of them soft forms. The most common style is the Water-Breaking-Rock style. The information on this style is given below, according to the rules given in the Oriental Adventures book. Water-Breaking-Rock Style

Form: Soft Principal Method: Push Armor Class: 5 Number of Attacks: 1 Damage: 1d3 Body Part: Hand Special Maneuvers: Concentrated push (1) Meditation (1) * Sticking touch (2) locking block (2) One finger (3) Mental resistance(3) Blind fighting (4) Distance death* * (4) Leap (5)

Game Information: Because they are so secretive, there are many wild and unfounded rumors about the monks of the Caves. A few of these are given below. Those parts in italic type are false:

In the mountains of Kora Shan, there are terrible monsters who dwell in a valley of caves. They will kill anyone they see on sight and eat the livers of the dead. The Caves of a Thousand Gods is a treasure trove. Rubies and diamonds fill the streams there. Only a few monks guard the treasure. Monks who live in the Caves are powerful sorcerers. The Caves don’t exist on Toril, they are actually part of the Celestial plane.

* Shukenja learn missile deflection instead. * * This maneuver is never used by the hermits to cause pain or damage. They will only use it to stun or paralyze. No weapons are taught under this style. 31

genuine affection for humans and so has often helped them in the past. At the same time, he does not like to be disturbed and so has made his home far from settled lands. The cave is located in a long valley, narrow and deep. The valley can only be reached by threading a maze of lesser valleys and high passes. Dropping well below the level of the peaks, Monkey’s valley is warm and wet, a sub- tropical oasis surrounded by jagged spires of icy rock. The lowest slopes are thick with groves of rhododendron, bamboo, oak, and pine to make a dense jungle. Wild boar, bears, leopards, and monkeys live here. The cave is hidden in this forest. From the outside it looks normal, although the area around the entrance is thick with little monkeys of all types. Inside, the tunnel wends its way past several branches before coming into a set of luxuriously appointed chambers. The floors are covered with rugs and fine furniture. Painted scrolls, stolen from the great collections of the world, hang from the walls. One chamber is a library with scrolls from Shou Lung, Wa, Waterdeep, Skuld, Phelzol, and other places of learning. (Monkey ranges farther afield than just the orient.) Another chamber is a treasure chamber, again containing precious artwork and jewelry stolen from around the world. If Monkey is not present, all of these things seem to be unguarded. The cave is more extensive than just these apartments, however. Elsewhere are gates to other Prime Material planes, other worlds on this Prime Material plane, and other planar locations. These other planar gates include one that opens into the gardens of the Celestial Emperor, another that opens into the Emperor’s stables, and a third that leads to the underworld of the Celes-

Cave of the Monkey The Cave of the Monkey is an important mythic place for the different beliefs of the East. To all, this site is the dwelling and power of Monkey, a powerful spirit. To the followers of the Path, Monkey has often provided insight to the sages of Shou Lung. In Ra-Khati, Monkey is one of the founders of Padhran. Among the gompas of Tibet, he is a mischievous, though helpful, boddha. The followers of the Way hold he is a troublemaker and trickster, often overcoming the evil spirits of the celestial world. Even the shamans of the steppe hold Monkey in awe as a powerful spirit to be respected and placated. This when the shamans have only a dim idea of what a monkey looks like! Hidden deep in the valleys of the Yehimal is a cave. Little known and hard to find, its passages wend for miles beneath the surface, opening into tumbled caverns, chimneys, sinks, and bottomless pits. This is the home of Monkey. A powerful spirit, Monkey chooses to spend at least part of his time on the Prime Material plane. Although capricious and troublesome, he has a


tial Bureaucracy. There are more gates beyond this that have never been identified. Again, none of these seem to be guarded. Game Information: Monkey’s cave is actually a demiplane somewhere between the Prime Material and the plane of the Celestial Emperor. It’s sole purpose is to allow Monkey to move quickly from one plane to another. The demiplane is entered by crossing through the cave mouth. Although everything appears to be unguarded, Monkey is not that foolish. Finding Monkey’s cave is hard; entering it is easy; but leaving is next to impossible. Always the trickster, Monkey has made his gates special. Those that open on the Prime Material plane can be crossed easily from the outside. To leave, however, requires a special code phrase. People who come in often find it very difficult to leave. Openings to the outer planes work the exact opposite way. Only creatures that know the secret phrase can enter Monkey’s demiplane from the outer planes, while no phrase is needed to go from the demiplane to an outer plane. This is a matter of practicality. Monkey does not care for powerful extra-planar creatures showing up in his home. Thus, player characters may be forced to escape Monkey’s demiplane by making a large detour through the outer planes! The spirit’s sense of mischief also shows in his selection of treasures and books. Many of the items are valuable (the originals being replaced by blatant fakes). Others look valuable but are little more than worthless. Finally, some are enchanted traps. These seem valuable, even magical, to all tests, but once removed from the demiplane they transform into a variety of terrors or embarrassments—poisonous snakes, spiders,

powerful monsters, monkeys, rags, offal, or dung. Monkey is usually not found in his cave, as he is often out performing some mischief or atoning for a particularly heinous trick. Even if he is home, it is not unusual for him to assume a disguise or hide from his visitors in order to pull some prank on them. He continually changes his code phrases, so the secret passwords will never be the same from one visit to the next. If thieves do manage to succeed, Monkey will pursue to recover the stolen items, though he is seldom vindictive about it.

Chang-liu-shui Oasis Chang-liu-shui, or Inexhaustible Spring Halt, is found on the Spice Road between the Merket Depression and the Ni-Ko Oasis. The well is marked by a lone willow tree that stands over a small, muddy-looking pond. Although the banks of the pond are crusted and foul-looking, the spring water is sweet and fresh. The water comes from an underground river that passes beneath the oasis. The spring gets its name because the


Altho’s biggest difficulty is the nomads who come to “his” well. The spring, whileeverflowing, does not provide much water. The nomads arrive in large groups and often take all there is. At first Altho tried to fight, losing and enraging the nomads at the same time. Now, he stores excess water in casks in his house and sells this to travelers. When nomads arrive, he stays out of sight and, except for a little trading (where he does his best to fleece the barbarians), Altho prefers to have as little contact with them as possible.

Cherrapunni Nor

pool has never completely dried out, even during the worst summers. Next to the pond is a small house, half-buried in the ground. This is the home and caravansary of Altho Farambler, a halfling originally from Faerun. He has taken a particular liking to this place and has set up his own little business. His caravansary is particularly favored by travelers from the west, since it has many of the features of home, even though his prices are high. Merchants from Shou Lung find his caravansary exotic and often not to their tastes.

This large lake lies just inside the western border of Ra-Khati. Fed by the Gogrus River at one end, the lake is formed by a natural dam of glacier-deposited rock at the other. Here, the Gogrus flows out through a narrow gorge and eventually falls into the Jumpa Chasm. Cherrapunni is noted for its clear blue water. Cherrapunni Nor is also known as the Sacred Lake of Cherrapunni. It is one of the required stops of pilgrims traveling up the Gogrus River. Here they must drink the water to cleanse


themselves of evil before continuing. In older times, before Ra-Khati closed its borders, a monastery stood at the northern end. The monastery was dedicated to the padhrasattva of pilgrims. Since the closing of Ra-Khati’s borders, this monastery has been abandoned and allowed to fall into ruin. The pilgrims that do make it to RaKhati still shelter among the ruin and the land here radiates goodness. Cherrapunni is also known as the Bottomless Lake. Since it fills part of a mountain valley, the shore drops away quickly. No one has ever reached the bottom, mainly because there has been little reason to try. Whether Cherrapunni is truly bottomless is unknown. For a lake of its size, Cherrapunni is remarkably free of dangerous creatures. There are a few species of giant cold-water fish and some exotic nymphs and nixies, but for the most part the lake is relatively quiet. Fishing is poor because the water flows from the barren glaciers. There are few settlements around the lake. Most were deserted or destroyed when the forces of Solon attacked Ra-Khati many years ago.

fortification within his domains. Today, Citadel Rashemar is an over-built, undermanned, indefensible, and ill-managed piece of architecture, a true rarity for the normally practical and bloody-minded Rashemeni. A sprawling complex of walls, towers, out-buildings and moats, Citadel Rashemar is not-quite completed and probably never will be. Built to hold a garrison of several thousand, barely one thousand soldiers are present at any time. Even if the works were complete, one thousand men would be hard-pressed to defend the citadel. With many of the outer walls and moats unfinished, any defense is impossible. Nonetheless, the citadel is the pride of the arrogant Lord Yegar, the builder and commander of this folly. It is his duty to dispatch patrols along the slopes of the Sunrise Mountains. It is another duty he takes inordinate pride in, having forced the Huhrong to title him the Copper Lord of the East—a reference to the copper mines of Murghom. Lord Yegar has been the loudest in pressing Rashemen’s claims for these mines, based on ancient borders. The Huhrong and other lords have managed so far to ignore Yegar’s expansionist talk as they have no desire to expand the borders of Rashemen. During the invasion of the west, Citadel Rashemar proved an ineffective line of defense. The Horde easily forced the garrison to hide behind its walls, carrying the incomplete outer works with no difficulty. Yamun Khahan, not wanting to be delayed by storming the citadel, left behind a small guard to beseige the fortress while the bulk of his army passed through Thekel

Citadel Rashemar Citadel Rashemar is the center of Rashemen’s influence over the eastern slopes of the Sunrise Mountains, the western side claimed by Thay. Rashemen’s control of the region exists so long as patrols are sent out from the citadel. Its “citizens” in this region are mostly outlaws and renegades. Besides the town around the citadel, the only other Rashemen settlement of any size is Beacon Cairn. Citadel Rashemar flanks the broad western opening to the Thekel Gap, an opening between the northern Sunrise Mountains and the Urling Mountains. The citadel is poorly sited by military standards. It is too far from the Thekel Gap to block the entrance to western Rashemen and it isolated from the rest of the country, making it easy to surround and capture. Politics determined the citadel’s location. The citadel was built by a previous Huhrong to placate one of his powerful lords, who demanded an effort be made to secure the Sunrise Mountains. The original intention was to build a minor citadel manned by a small garrison, but the demanding lord used his influence to transform this plan into a major 35

However, the Copper Lord has been mismanaging the funds assigned to the construction of the citadel. Much of the money has been diverted to his own household. Reports of work progress have been faked. Lord Yegar is fearful the commission will uncover his wrongdoing, which won’t be too hard, and so is working frantically to cover his tracks. He is attempting to hide or destroy evidence, remove any who might speak against him, and find someone to blame it all on. If all of these fail to divert the commission members, he will arrange their deaths, the player characters included. The characters’ secret investigation is certain to run afoul of the Copper Lord’s coverup.

Gap. Several attacks by this guard captured the main walls and drove the defenders into the central keep. Here the officers of the garrison discovered the fruits of Lord Yegar’s corruption. The money allotted for food stores had been siphoned away and the granaries were virtually bare. A month after the final attack, the starving garrison surrendered, only to be put to death by the Horde.

Clearflow River The Clearflow River starts from the Lake of Mists and flows southward to join the River Murghol. Its western bank is generally considered the edge of civilized lands. Across its water is the land of nomadic barbarians. Although the water of the Clearflow is ample and pure, there has been little settlement on its banks. The land is poor for farming, only becoming fruitful with extensive irrigating. This, however, is not the major obstacle to settlement—the threat of attack by the barbarians is. Only extensive patrols and border forts can keep the settlers safe, but neither Rashemen, Thay, Thazalhar, nor Murghom can establish such a system without incurring the wrath of neighboring nations. Thus, the banks of the Clearflow have remained an unofficial no-man’s-land.

Adventure Idea: Yegar is not the most loved or honest man in all of Rashemen, especially when it comes to matters of his precious citadel. The citadel keeps getting larger and Yegar’s garrison keeps increasing in strength. The Huhrong fears Yegar may be plotting against the throne of the Iron Lord. Since the witches of Rashemen consider this a matter between the Huhrong and Yegar, they have refused to become involved. Their position is that no one becomes Huhrong without their support, so the threat is nonexistent. This does not cheer the current Huhrong. He has decided to do some investigating of his own. His plan is to send an inspector to Citadel Rashemen, ostensibly to review accounts and progress. A royal commission has been assembled with Lord Felmas as its head. The Huhrong wants the player characters, who owe no loyalty to any other lord of Rashemen, to accompany the commission as members of the bodyguard. The player characters’ task is to learn what secret plans, if any, Yegar has against the throne. The truth is that while Yegar is ambitious enough to want the throne, he has no current designs on it.

Adventure Idea: The player characters are hired to do what the governments of the area cannot—protect a settlement from the attacks of the barbarians. Unknown to the player characters, however, the Horde, on its way to invade the west, is coming in full force. To save the settlement and their lives, the player characters must negotiate, not fight, to make peace between the riders and the woefully outnumbered farmers.


Copper Mines One of the main mineral resources of the western sector of the Endless Waste is copper. The largest and most productive copper mines can be found in the Mountains of Copper, but mines also exist in the Sunrise Mountains and Urling Mountains. Surface deposits are found in the Hagga Shan. The ore from these mountains is worked by the nomadic smiths, who have set up small, permanent kilns near the outcroppings.

Dead Dwarf Bridge man scouts rode like the wind to warn the settlement, Theodo and the dwarves of his patrol made a stand at the Clearflow bridge. It was and still is a sturdy structure, built by dwarves from fine rosy marble. Made to last, it was too strong for the dwarves to bring down in the little time they had. The eight dwarves of the patrol made their stand in the center of the bridge, their war standard unfurled and wedged into the railing. Here they stood, two abreast, when the host of Narfell, 1,000 strong, rode into sight. At first the riders

This bridge has an evil reputation among locals as far as Almorel, for it was here that Theodo, son of Tassilo, son of Urthos the Fat, made his heroic stand. In ancient days, when the empires of Raumathar and Narfell were in collapse, Theodo Greataxe and his seven companions held off an invading force of Narfelli riders, denying them the use of the Clearflow bridge. The Narfelli invaders had slipped past the Raumatharan patrols to raid into Raumathar. Only a small patrol, led by Theodo Greataxe, blocked their way to Almorel. While his five hu-


tried charging the bridge, but the dwarves held strong. Only the youngest, Talmar of Baraski, fell. The rest were protected behind a barricade of dead men and horses. Then arrows were shot down on them, but they sheltered from the irontipped rain beneath their steel-shod shields. During this storm, Foolish Uthos was pierced through the brain and died. Next fell Habbadrak, then Laggenson, and Crash. Now only three remained: Molnir the Mighty, Njal Granitson, and Theodo Greataxe. It was then that Njal succumbed to the spells of a wizard and turned on his friends. In the fight that followed, Molnir and Njal tumbled off the bridge into the rushing Clearflow below. Now only Theodo remained. Refusing to surrender, Theodo met charge after charge, desperately holding the attackers at bay. The bodies piled high and tumbled over the sides. The stones were slippery with blood and Clearflow ran red that day. Finally, wounded in a hundred places, Theodo knew he could stand no longer. With a mighty blow he shattered Greataxeson, his magical blade, and cast the fragments into the river. The bridge cracked where the blade bit stone. As the attackers came forward, Theodo charged forth one last time to lay into them with a broken axe haft. Twenty he killed before they brought him down; hundreds the eight killed that day. All eight dwarves died, but Almorel was saved. It is said that Theodo and his men still guard against the Narfelli to this day. Game Information: The Dead Dwarf Bridge is haunted by the ghosts of the dwarves, although these ghosts seldom make their appearance. Only six of the defenders are ever seen. Talmar, 38

Uthos, Habbadark, Laggenson, and Crask are phantoms— harmless enough but terrifying to behold. These five appear on dark and lonely nights and are often seen blocking the bridge, their old wounds still gaping fresh. Molnir the Mighty is rarely seen—a dripping wet form with a puffy, drowned face. He is a spectre, possessed with a violent hatred of wizards. Only appearing after dark, he will rise out of the water to attack any obvious spell caster crossing the bridge. He will not attack others. Njal is also sometimes seen rising wet and dripping from the water. He is a haunt. Njal only appears when either Molnir or Theodo are seen. His unfinished task is that set by the Narfelli wizard: to destroy Molnir and Theodo. The haunt attempts to possess any suitable body for this task. Finally, there is Theodo himself. Even in death he has remained true to his task. He is now a ghost, appearing as a cut and bleeding dwarf armed with a shattered haft. He only appears on nights when travelers with Narfelli blood in their veins attempt to cross the bridge. Then, the ghost does all it can to destroy the enemy.

Delbyl This town marks the site where the Road of the Dawn splits into its northern and southern routes. The town itself is unexceptional, only a small souk or market surrounded by a rag-tag collection of mud-brick homes enclosed by walls. Within the walls are courtyards, gardens, and small orchards. Goats, sheep, hens, and geese wander the back streets. Delbyl is a minor market center of Murghom. Shepherds and farmers bring their wares here to sell to the merchants who pass through the town to and from Mulhorand and Semphar, Few caravans pass through where anymore, since the creation of the Desert of Desolation ended most trade with Durpar. Today, most goods travel down the Rauthenflow. Delbyl is noted mainly as the point where the Road of the Dawn divides into northern and southern branches. Once the road went to the south, bypassing Delbyl on the way to Durpar and Solon. Now the southern road is little used in favor of the more direct northern route. Only caravans bound for the desert or desirous of avoiding the tax collectors and customs-agents travel the

southern route. Delbyl is ruled by an emir, appointed to his post by the Bey of Murghom, Yaghi-Siyan. Delbyl is a backwater posting and officials sent here are normally lazy, incompetent, mediocre, venal, or distrusted by the current regime. Assignment here is often used as a punishment by the bey. Assisting the emir is a small civil watch of 12 maliks (chiefs) and their men. No armed garrison is maintained in Delbyl. The watch investigates crimes and keeps order in the souk. Their methods are very strict, justice most often being served with a wooden rod. ing for a vision to guide them further. Only a few pilgrims reach the last stop on the Dharbang—its glacial source. High in the freezing mountains, this site is a difficult trek. Once they have attained the snowfield, the pilgrims must scrub themselves with snow, thus removing their outer selves. Most, at this point, return home or continue their pilgrimage to other places, but a few, guided by some vision, continue up the glacier and are never seen again. The pilgrims maintain that these few do not die because they are blessed.

Dharbang River The Dharbang is the lesser of the two main rivers of Ra-Khati, the other being the Gogrus. Starting from a glacier in the Katakoro Shan, the river forms Norasil in the heart of the land. From there it continues to the west until it joins the Gogrus. The Dharbang is one of the Thousand Sacred Sources of the Gaya and so is one of the routes pilgrims from the south travel. There are three sacred sites along the course of the river. Traveling upstream, the first holy spot is the junction of the Dharbang and Gogrus rivers. Here the waters of the two rivers form a gentle union known as “The Bed of Two Lovers.” The current here is a marked contrast from further upstream where both rivers become raging torrents. The water at the junction has a golden glow and special healing properties. Those who bathe in the icy flow are cured of all wounds, disease, and drained ability points. This is a property of the place. Water bottled or taken from here has no special properties. According to legend, the Great Teacher, founder of the Path, meditated at this spot for five weeks, neither eating nor sleeping. Here he gained the fifth key to enlightenment, bringing himself closer to ultimate harmony. At the end of his meditation, he ate a peach and cast the pit into the water. Since that time, the water here has been blessed. From this junction, the Dharbang flows out of a canyon so steep-sided and jagged that it is impossible to follow the banks of the river to the next holy site, Norasil. Travelers must detour along the Akundi River to reach the Lake of Dreams. Here pilgrims camp on the shore, wait-

Dhaztanar Dhaztanar, the “crystal-towered,” is the largest city of Semphar. Fabled and fabulous, Dhaztanar is the key to trade between the east and west. It is one end of the Silk Road, the busiest caravan road between Faerun and Shou Lung. It is the largest port on Gbor Nor, shipping goods down the Rauthenflow to the Alambar Sea. It is the home of the Caliph, master of all Semphar. Dhaztanar is a sprawling city of brick and stone. Only a few buildings are made of wood, since lumber must be shipped from the Shalhoond. Most wood brought in is used for shipbuilding or furniture. The majority of houses are two stories high, although the slums are filled with little hovels. Public buildings and palaces are imposing exceptions, often rising to a height of four stories or more. The central parts of Dhaztanar are protected by walls, towers, and moats. The oldest walls are near the harbor, the Furdah Rustauk. These are old, made of mud brick, and are in sad repair. Canals run through the district, for use by small 39

boats carrying the cargos of larger ships. Adjoining the harbor region is the Round City, the Madinat. This is the heart of Dhaztanar, the main city. The Madinat is the best fortified section of the city. Laid out in a perfect circle, it is surrounded first by a moat, then an outer wall and inner wall. There is an empty yard between the outer wall and the taller inner wall. Both walls are wide enough to have walkways atop them. Another open roadway separates the inner wall from the houses inside it. At the heart of the Madinat is a third wall, again set off from the houses by a road. Beyond this wall are the gardens, temples, and palaces of the Caliph. Four gates, the Grand Bab, pierce the walls, leading to the Caliph’s palace, Dar al-Kalif, at the center. Outside the Round City is the Shari-souk, the Market Quarter. Here is where most of the buying and selling takes place, the true life of Dhaztanar. Protective walls have been built haphazardly throughout this district, the city expanding beyond each before it is finished. Canals carry water in curving rings, adding further to the chaotic layout. Finally, outside all walls are the Quarters of the Unclean. These are the slums of Dhaztanar. Tiny, crooked little streets lined with wretched little hovels crowd the areas around the gates. Just beyond the edges these slums become unmapped tangles where a man can disappear from the authorities forever. Dhaztanar earns its appellation “crystaltowered” from the Dar al-Kalif, the magnificent crystal palace of Abu Bakr, Caliph of Semphar. The palace is crowded with minarets of clear rock crystal, brought at great cost from the distant mines of the Firepeaks. These gleam like beacons in the sunlight, so much so that Dhaztanar is sometimes called the “Shining City.” Their light plays over the rich red and green stone of the palace and brightens even the darkest corners of the Caliph’s gardens. At night a fire is lit in the tallest of these towers to serve as a light for sailors. It is said this light can be seen as far as 50 miles from the shore. Dhaztanar is a city where anything can be found. For the bold, the cunning, the wise, there are great fortunes to be found. Riches from the east and west converge on this spot— and so do rogues and scoundrels. There is work for strong

swordsmen, skilled sailors, light-fingered gentlemen, and persuasive prophets. Furthermore, the Caliph is an enlightened despot. His treasury supports a college of wizards and a university of learning famed among the sages of the southern lands. The Caliph is generous in his donations to certain temples and unrelenting in his persecution of others, particularly Il-mater, whom he fears may be used to rally the oppressed against him. The city is a gathering place of many races and adventurers. Elves are uncommon, as are dwarves. Gnomes are seen, but are extremely rare. Halflings are frequently met, many claiming to be from Lurien to the south. In the less savory sectors can be found many goblinkind, although these creatures are under bounty in the city. It is even rumored that the Harpers of the North have some influence, or at least an outpost, here. Dhaztanar is not without its enemies. Its chief rival is the city of Zindalankh of Murghom. Zindalankh, once the equal of Dhaztanar, has suffered greatly with the opening of the Rauthenflow and the collapse of trade with Durpar. Murghom privateers are a constant threat to the Dhaztanar sailors. To counter them, the Caliph has built a powerful navy, but has only done so at the expense of his army. Adventure Idea: As the pearl of eastern Faerun, Dhaztanar can be the starting or ending place of many adventures. Caravans leaving here always need guards, priests, and wizards. Thieves can find more than enough wealth to liberate from greedy merchants. There are ample opportunities for the standard types of adventures. The following are some special events that can occur.


The Dragonwall Marking the current border of western Shou Lung, the Dragonwall forms a protective barrier thousands of miles long. The Dragonwall is said to be the hardened body of a great dragon. The legend of its creation can be found in the KaraTur Campaign Set. For centuries, the Dragonwall has served to block the invasions of the horse barbarians from the steppe. Powerful empires of nomads are not new; several times in history the riders have charged out of their homelands to conquer lands to the east and west. In the centuries that followed each eruption, the tribes collapsed and the threat was forgotten. Only in Shou Lung has there been any attempt to create a long-term defense against the barbarians. The Dragonwall is no ordinary fortification. Although made of brick and stone, it is imbued with the spirit of Pao Hu Jen, the mighty dragon. Because the spirit of this creature is the mortar for the bricks, the Dragonwall cannot be broken by normal siege equipment. Stones and drills have no effect on the fortifications. Only siege equipment of a magical nature or specially enchanted boulders can hurt the Dragonwall. However, Pao Hu Jen’s spirit is not restful or happy. It was imprisoned here by the trickery of men. Although it cannot free itself, the dragon can tell others how it can be freed. If given a substantial sacrifice, something of great value, the dragon’s spirit can be released. No one has the resources necessary to free the dragon along the entire length of the wall, but the dragon does have the power to withdraw from designated sections, creating breaches in the Dragonwall. When Pao Hu Jen’s spirit is withdrawn from a section of the wall, the departure is anything but quiet. The ground heaves and cracks, crumbling the now-mortarless wall. Some claim to see an image of the dragon’s spirit soar into the sky. Whatever they see, the end result is a collapsed mound of rubble and destruction. Of course, releasing the dragon’s spirit is not easy. Sensibly, the Shou have not spread the secret of the Dragonwall. Nearly everyone considers it a fortification, nothing more, and does not know of the trapped spirit. So first, anyone hoping to break the wall must become suspicious that there is a secret. Next they must learn what

Prior to the Horde invasion, the Caliph of Semphar became concerned about the growing reports of a powerful leader uniting the steppe tribes. While he doesn’t fear for the safety of his empire, he is concerned about the effect on trade. The Caliph is looking for a band of adventurers to journey into the Endless Waste, search out this leader, learn his intentions, and then report back to the Caliph. He does not want them to cause any trouble and, except for befriending the normally suspicious tribesmen, the task should not be too difficult. Unknown to the Caliph, agents of the secret Imaskar Empire have learned of his plans. In it they see a chance to embarrass Semphar and potentially ruin the country’s trade. They have secretly assembled a band of agents to shadow the Caliph’s emissaries. These agents have orders to assassinate this new leader, if there is one, and make it seem as though the Caliph’s men did the job. That, the Imaskari are certain, will create a rift between the people of the steppes and Semphar. Trade will certainly suffer and merchants will be forced to look to other routes, particularly a more southern way through the desert and Solon. As Semphar weakens, the ancient might of Imaskar will once again grow. The leader sought by the Caliph is the rising Tuigan, Yamun Khan. (The adventure should occur prior to his elevation to Khahan.) The assassination attempt will fail if it is not stopped first by the player characters. However, the player characters will be blamed if the attempt is made. Thus, the characters could find themselves in a very dangerous situation.


that secret is; and, finally, they must discover the exact means of releasing the spirit. To date, only a few have ever progressed this far. The Dragonwall has been breached, twice in the past, both times preludes to great invasions. These occurred many centuries ago. The breaches have since been repaired with matching brickwork (although these are not protected by the dragon’s spirit). The locations of these breaks have been purposefully forgotten (and those who would not forget were permanently silenced) as an additional safety factor. The defense of Shou Lung does not solely rely on the strength of the fortifications. The wall is garrisoned and patrolled with Shou Lung troops. There is a small guard tower every mile where a sentry is supposed to watch, ready to light a signal fire should anything occur. Every 10 miles there is a blockhouse with 100 men. Every 50 miles there is a gate house with a garrison of 1,000 men. The walls are patrolled, although not always regularly. Of course, the effectiveness of any garrison varies greatly with the energy of the local commander. Although the Dragonwall is not impenetrable, it is quite formidable. However, the strength of the wall is also its weakness. The bureaucrats of Shou Lung have let themselves be lulled by the security of their frontier, believing no barbarians can ever touch them. The garrisons along the wall are poorly trained and led, and often corruptly administered. Since they believe the wall cannot be broken, the generals have no planned defenses inside their borders. Troops are few and badly positioned, more concerned about internal revolts than outside threats. The Horde’s invasion of Shou Lung was successful because the Tuigan were able to release the dragon spirit and bring down a section of the Dragonwall, allowing the barbarians to pour ‘into the countryside. During the Horde Wars, sections of the Dragonwall were destroyed. The most disastrous of these is at the Kumen (Ancient Gate) at the southern end of the wall near the kingdom of Khazari. Here the first of the Horde armies broke the Dragonwall and poured through the gap. The wall has yet to be rebuilt, since Shou Lung’s attentions are diverted elsewhere.

Lung, known only to a few in the highest offices. Now, it seems, someone has stolen that secret. The Mandarinate is in an uproar as a full-scale inquisition gets underway to find the traitor who revealed the wall’s power. The player characters are hired in confidence by one of the secretaries of the Ministry of War to track down a group of spies who are fleeing with the secret of the Dragonwall (presumably to sell to the horse barbarians). The player characters’ job is to capture these spies and bring them back to the secretary for punishment. Of course, the mandarin does not explain just what has been stolen, since that would reveal too much about the Dragonwall. As a further precaution, the player characters are to make sure no one outside Shou Lung learns or is able to use the secret. Before the player characters can catch them, the spies cross into the lands of the Endless Waste. Here the player characters must track the spies and then bring them back. The player characters finally find the spies in one of the nomad camps. The secret is about to be sold. The player characters must stop this and bring the spies back—possibly with an entire hostile tribe on their heels! Of course, things don’t end there. Can the player characters trust the mandarin who hired them? Is he really an honest official or the traitor who sold the secret in the first place? Does he want to punish the criminals or is he only covering his tracks? Will he still be in office when the characters return? Conversely, can he trust the player characters? What if they learn the secret of the Dragonwall? It would certainly be easier to kill the characters when they return, just in case— and it would save money, too.

Adventure Idea: The secret of the Dragonwall is one of the highest military secrets of Shou


posts the current prices, based on the previous day’s trading. By the end of the week, the merchants load their caravans and leave, carrying tanned hides and finished goods for sale elsewhere. With such a concentration of sales, the Leather Market has attracted more than just leather dealers. Herdsmen come from the surrounding countryside to sell wool and lambs in the spring. In the fall, farmers bring their grain to sell in the Wheat Market. Entertainers and rogues of all stripes arrive to make the fair a lively and slightly dangerous occasion. The Caliph of Semphar has been forced to send a troop of cavalry to police the streets during the days of the fair—a service he taxes the Tanners’ Guild dearly for. During the Leather Fair, Duirtanal becomes a wild and almost lawless town.

Duirtanal Duirtanal is a sad and ugly town, isolated from others in the middle of Semphar. To all appearances, it is a stinking, filthy den. Sitting on the banks of a small river, the water that flows from Duirtanal is fouled and smelly. A brown smudge hangs over the town and the air is constantly filled with a powerful stench. But this is not what makes the town famous, although it certainly is memorable. Duirtanal noted for its tanneries and leather works, the source of all this pollution. Smelly and foul, the dark, stinking shops of the town produce the finest leather goods in all of Semphar. Duir leather, as their handiwork is known, is prized throughout the southern Realms. Secret processes known only to the guild masters result in leather that is stronger, softer, and more supple than that found elsewhere. Using these processes, the townsfolk make pouches, bags, book covers, breeches, saddles, scabbards, wineskins, and armors. These are tooled and dyed in a distinctive style, each family having its own patterns and colors. Those familiar with Duir work can identify specific craftsmen by the patterns used. Forgeries are easy to detect, since no one has yet matched the quality of the leather produced by the tanners here. Duirtanal holds a semi-annual fair known as the Leather Market. For one week in the spring and another in the fall, merchants from Phelzol and places further distant come to inspect and haggle over the leather wares. The merchants, many who’ve been in the leather trade for decades, visit each tannery and shop, sip sweetened coffee, and inspect goods. Bids are made and orders are placed. Every day, the Tanner’s Guild

Game Information: Duir leather is rare and correspondingly expensive. The cost of an item from Duirtanal can range from two to twenty times more expensive; the larger the item, the greater the cost. To some, the cost is worth it. Aside from the beautiful tooling and dyes used, Duir leather has properties other leather does not. The leather is exceedingly tough and strong. Objects made from Duir leather gain a +1 on all item saving throws. Scroll tubes and books bound in the leather are less likely to be destroyed. Rope made from braided thongs gains a +3 to all item saving throws. Most valuable of all, Duir leather armor is as light as normal armor and yet is one armor class better than normal. All this is accomplished without having any magical properties. Duir leather is rare, however. Duir armor is only found about 5% of the time. Other leather goods turn up a little more frequently—10% to 15% of any leather items discovered were made in Duirtanal.

Ejen Horo The Ejen Horo is a large vale between the Mountains of Copper and the Khopet Dag Mountains. Its name means Valley of the God. This broad valley is sacred to the Tuigan, the largest of the nomadic tribes roaming the Endless Waste. Here, they believe, was the birthplace of their nation. 44

By the standards of the steppe, the Ejen Horo is a gardenlike land blessed by good weather and lush growth. Hunting is good, since much game ventures from the nearby mountains and the Shaihoond. Rainfall is more abundant than on the steppe, creating a number of small lakes and streams. Because the area is holy to them, the Tuigan defend the territory vigorously. In the past they have driven out many other groups that have settled or considered settling in the region. The Tuigan have not been entirely successful in this and there now are a few other tribes dwelling on the fringes of the Ejen Horo. The Ejen Horo is used for two purposes. Every fall the khans of the clans gather in the valley for a grand couralitai, a meeting of the princes. At this session they settle feuds, arrange marriages, fix blood prices for murders, and occasionally recognize a new khan. The couralitai is also the time when a new khahan can be elected. The Ejen Horo is also used as a burial ground for the honored dead of the Tuigan. This includes great heroes, khans, and khahans, but few others. These burials take place during the couralitai. Some of the dead are carefully preserved for this burial, others are simply moved from their temporary graves to the valley when the time comes. The khahans are not actually buried, but are given over to a secret sect of the Tuigan, the Irooukudel. These priests live in the valley and watch over the embalmed bodies of the Great Lords. They have devoted their lives to this task and are ready to die to protect their lords. The wealthiest and most powerful of the ordinary khans are buried in tombs marked by primitive statues or cairns. The majority of the honored dead, however, are given a simple wind burial. Their bodies are laid out on simple wooden frames, offerings carefully placed around them. The corpses are left exposed to the elements and eventually the entire structure crumbles away. The Ejen Horo is also a very dangerous place. The land is filled with spirits of the dead. Generally, these are benign, but there are many stories of the cruel fates met by those who foolishly tried to rob the graves found throughout the valley.

Estanil Estanil is a rarity in the lands of Semphar, a town built almost entirely of wood. it is small burg, enclosed by a wooden stockade on three sides, the water of the Gbor Nor bounding the fourth. Centered around a small harbor, the town’s heart is a collection of sawmills along the banks of the River Estan and wooden piers nearby. Spreading out from these is a dense maze of log houses, most two stories high. Beyond the stockade are smaller cabins of poor workmen and farmers. For its size, the town of Estanil is a bustling place. Located at the mouth of the River Estan, the town is a major trade center for lumber. The wood is floated downstream from the Shalhoond to the sawmills and docks of Estanil. Here it is cut, treated, and shipped to other ports on the Gbor Nor. Some is even shipped as far as Mulhorand and Thay. Estanil is a rough town, filled with independentminded characters. So near to the Shaihoond, it has a greater than normal proportion of elves and goblin-kind. These live uneasily in different sections of the town. Riots (or extremely large brawls) involving 50 to 100 belligerents on a side sometimes break out between the two groups. It is only with great difficulty that open warfare between the two groups is suppressed. Estanil sits on the border to Semphar, and the Caliph rules the town only with great difficulty. He maintains a garrison of 5,000 men in the only stone building of the town, but most of these are actively patrolling and scouting the border or are busy keeping the peace between the elves and goblin-kind. Normally there are only 1,000 men present at any given time in the town. To command them, the Caliph has appointed 45

cause they have become polluted by death or misfortune. These ruins are scattered haphazardly throughout the town. The city is unwalled, the inhabitants relying on the natural defenses of the mountains to protect them. Fatuia Chupa is devoted entirely to monasteries, hence its name as the “City of Monasteries.” For centuries the pass and surrounding mountains have been held sacred by the different branches of the Path. Each sect has built its own monastery here. There are Red and Yellow Mountain monasteries from Khazari, Padhran monasteries from Ra-Khati, even gompas from Tabot. Each monastery is independent from all the others. There are virtually no other houses or. businesses to be found here. The surrounding farmland is claimed by the monks and the city itself is too far from the trade routes for merchants to settle here. The abundance of monasteries has led to interesting alliances. Although no monastery recognizes the others as truly legitimate, they do group themselves into different factions. The Red Mountain is allied with several of the Padhran sect, while the Yellow Mountain monastery often works in concert with the gompas of Tabot. Alliantes can change quickly, depending on the current interpretations of doctrine. The factions mainly try to suppress bloody feuds between the monasteries. The Yellow and Red Mountain sects hate each other passionately. The same applies to the Padhrans and the gompas. If uncontrolled, there would be open warfare on the streets of Fatuia Chupa. instead, a carefully maintained balance of power exists. Still, violence among these supposedly peaceloving monasteries does occur. For protection, each monastery has sohei and monks in addition to priests. These men are there primarily to act as soldiers, although they also serve in the religious ceremonies as well.

an amir, Abui Fiydah, but his power is limited. Although the amir has the power to issue orders in the name of the Caliph, he can seldom defy the will of the Council of Loggers. This group, a trade guild, is made up of the owners of the mills and the companies of loggers that work in the Shaihoond. Using the threats of strikes, embargoes, and even secession, they are able to limit the amir’s authority. Should they cease their work, Semphar’s only source of building timber would be closed down and Murghom would control the lumber trade of the region. Since Semphar needs lumber for its ships, the Council has a very effective tool in its possession. Of course, the Council does not always get its way. In the past, Caliphs, tired of Estanil’s highhandedness, have crushed the Council. More than once the town has been burned to the ground and the citizens slain in bloody massacres. This is the Caliph’s ultimate threat and it is the only one that keeps the Council from proclaiming its own independence.

Fatula Chupa The monastery city of Fatula is hidden away in the mountains that once formed part of the great Kingdom of Guge on the Katakoro Plateau. The square-sided, white-washed buildings seem to grow from the rocky face of the mountains, perched wherever there is enough level ground to make a foundation. As a result, the city sprawls over the narrow valley floor and up the rugged lower slopes of the Fatu Pass. Many of the buildings are in ruins, their brown brick walls and collapsed roofs a marked contrast to the bright white and orange of the current monasteries. Some have been abandoned for age, others be-

Adventure Idea: Fatula Chupa is a bomb just waiting for a group of adventurers to act as the spark, Currently the power of the factions is carefully balanced, with no group strong enough to dominate the others. Each monastery is carefully watched by its friends and rivals and nearly everyone in the city knows the business of his neighbors. Things have managed to stay this way


for many years, which only irks the more impatient members of each sect. The player characters represent a new element. Nonaligned and unquantified, they will become the object of everyone’s attention. The competition to influence the characters will be fierce at first. No monastery wants to be left out. At the same time, none of the monasteries will openly admit its true desire (destruction of its enemies), since this would breach the careful balance of power. The player characters will find themselves overwhelmed by kindness, gifts, and vague hints about who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. At some point, this will change. Sooner or later the characters will do something to hurt or help one of the monasteries. The minute this happens (whether intentional or not) the suspicions of all the others will become absolute facts. The player characters will be assigned sides in the struggle, whether they picked them or not. Suddenly they will find themselves fighting for their lives, perhaps without even knowing why. Fatu La Chupa offers the opportunity for a dangerous and yet comical role-playing session. Play up the paranoia and scheming of the different monks and keep the characters confused!

The Firepeaks are not deserted. According to the Tuigan, the mountains are the home of the Siremun, the iron Men. These are strange little men who dwell among the flames, working with crystal and iron. The Siremun are full of tricks and pranks, forever envious of the horsemen, since their own legs are too stunted to reach the stirrups. In truth, the Firepeaks is the home of an ancient dwarven kingdom. In ages past, just as the might of the dwarves peaked, an adventurous band left the west and made their way across the “flat world” to settle in the Firepeaks. These settiers were the last wave of the great dwarven expansion. No more followed them, and in time communication with the West broke down. Now the dwarves of the Firepeaks live in isolation. The dwarves have built a sizeable kingdom beneath the flaming peaks. Here they mine skystone, a perfectly clear crystal, that can be chiseled and carved like ordinary stone. Hard as marble, skystone is used by the wealthy to build palaces and towers. The dwarves have used the skystone to build sections of their kingdom, creating crystal mazes and dizzying halls with seethrough floors. They also export a large amount of the stone to princes and wizards. For example, the Caliph of Semphar used skystone for many of the towers of Dhaztanar. The dwarves are not the only inhabitants of the Firepeaks. The volcanic region has attracted a number of goblin-kind and giant-kind. Most numerous of these are the orcs, who have entered the Firepeaks region from underground passages. Holding with traditional hatreds, these creatures are at war with the Siremun. To date, they have seized several of the outer halls and

The Firepeaks This lonely set of mountains, several hundred miles east of Aimorel, is one of the most famous landmarks of the Endless Waste. The Firepeaks is a rugged geothermal basin, surrounded by a circle of volcanic mountains. Eruptions from the cones occur frequently, at least one of the mountains throwing up a cloud of ash every few weeks. The gray clouds are visible from as far away as the Spice Road, which passes within 100 miles. This volcanic activity, along with the reddish glow faintly seen at night, is what gives the region its name. To most of the civilized races, the Firepeaks are a desolate, although perhaps fascinating, region. The nomads revere the mountains as Badara-Kharshi, Land of the Fire God. The mountains are sacred, and can only be visited after ritual preparations. Most outsiders come to use the many hot springs of the basin, believed to have healing and spiritual properties. A few come to deal with the inhabitants of the volcanic mountains. 47

one of the larger skystone quarries. They outnumber the dwarves, but lack the resourcefulness of the Siremun. Thus the dwarves have been able to slow the orc advance, although they are still, ultimately, losing the war. On the surface, there is a sizeable population of ogres. Since they remain on the surface, the ogres are ignored by the Siremun for the most part. The brutes have seized control of the hot springs and are, in their own half-witted way, trying to set up a business, a spa of giant-kind, as it were. Each band of ogres, usually no more than ten, has claimed a spring or group of springs. The cleverest of the lot have erected crude markerscairns topped with animal skulls, bones, feathers, and bits of worthless cloth—to mark their claim. Nearby will be one of the clan, waiting to collect a fee from all who want to bathe at their spring. Lacking grace and charm, they threaten to smash anyone who refuses to pay their fee. This new sense of capitalism has created a gold-rush mentality among the ogres. There are more ogres than hot springs and some springs are better than others. As a result, there has been ogre claim-jumping, ogre bush-whacking, and ogre hot-spring wars. The strongest of the clans is trying to bring law and order to this frontier— their laws and order, of course. They have had only limited success. Strangers entering the area are naturally viewed as potential claim-jumpers. The ogres are likely to throw rocks and ask questions later, unless convinced the visitors don’t have hostile intentions. Of course, being simple-minded brutes, the ogres can be easily duped. Game Information: The kingdom of the Siremun has a population of about 5,000, spread out


through a series of underground halls and warrens. The current king, a direct descendant of the dwarven discoverer of the Firepeaks, is Markos Silverhammer. The orcs in the region number about 7,000, although an accurate census is utterly impossible. Their greatest weakness is that they are not organized into a single group, but are a collection of eight tribes. These are, from the most powerful to the least, the Shagtooth, Burnt Finger, Grayhair, Unngus, Rat-eater, Old Woman, Bent Knife, and Snakekiller. In addition to fighting the dwarves, these tribes often battle each other, keeping them from uniting to defeat the Siremun. Currently a strong leader, Maggath of the Rateater Clan, is making a power play to seize control of the Rat-eater, Grayhair, Old Woman, and Bent Knife clans. if he succeeds, he will have enough power to force the remaining tribes into a confederation. Once united, the orcs will be a dire threat to the Siremun kingdom.

of dwarvish master architects (in a time when the dwarves were more widespread) raised up the walls. Of all the fortifications, the gate itself was the weakest part and so it was decided to cast it from iron. iron was scarce in that southern land, and thus more valuable than gold. A subscription was placed on all the people of the land, requiring they give up all they had of the precious metal. Pots, swords, temple-bells, every bit of iron was collected and melted down. The great molds were cut and set into place. All was ready for the final casting. There remained, however, still one problem. While the iron doors would be strong enough to resist drills, fire, and catapults, it was still vulnerable to magical attack. The best sorcerers of the land labored over the gates, searching for a way to protect from every possible attack. Finally they finished, devising a powerful conjuring, greater than any ever attempted before. So great was the spell that its casting would surely drain the very life from the caster. Bravely one of their lot volunteered to perform the ceremony. The spell was cast and the gates were forged. The Gate of iron is immune to any type of magical attack. indeed, this part of the enchantment is identical to the effect that created the Deadlands, the regions where magic has no power. The spell had a second effect, so that the gates could not be opened once closed. Only two people, the spell caster himself (who, of course, died in the casting) and the king of the south, knew the secret to open the Gate of iron. Today, the spell used to create the gates is lost and there is no known record of the procedures used to cast it.

Flowery Pond Well This small oasis is nothing more than a lonely, uninhabited pond. Hidden from sight in a low hollow, Flowery Pond Well takes its name from the water lilies that cover the surface. The well is nothing but a muddy pool, shaded by a few willows. Hard to find, and filled with brackish water, Flowery Pond Well is a little-used oasis.

Gate of Iron In a neck of the Dustwall is a narrow pass leading from the burning desert of Raurin to the edges of northern Durpar. At the very top of the pass, the way is blocked by an ancient stone battlement. Only a single gate pierces the wall, This is the famous Gate of iron. Built over four thousand years ago, the Gate of iron still stands strong and undamaged to this day. More amazing, however, is the fact that no one can open the metal valves, nor have they been opened in over three thousand years. The Gate of iron was built in the days of the Imaskar Empire. in those days this pass was the only route to the lands of present-day Durpar and Uigarth, for the Scarlet Jungle covered the easier low passes. The gate was built to halt the advance of the imaskaran armies in their march of conquest. The southerners, under the guidance 49

to tragi-comical results. To make matters worse, Zangpo’s odd behavior has sparked many wild rumors about him. Most of these speculate on his motives, but a few suggest that he has a fabulous treasure (stolen from the packs he carries) hidden in a secret room of his hermitage. It is, of course, not true.

Glacier of the Lost King This glacier on the edge of the Hollow Crown Mountains is the place where Kalon Doring, the last king of the old kingdom of Guge, disappeared. Driven mad by the gods for challenging the armies of the Celestial Emperor, the king marched his army into the snowy mists of this glacier, seeking out the hosts of the Celestial Emperor. The king, along with 10,000 men, disappeared forever. Some claim there was a great battle on the snowfield where the king and his men were utterly destroyed. Others say the army of Guge still roams the glacier, searching for the enemy.

Adventure Idea: Ulgarth and the lands south

are rumored to be strange regions, even more fantastic than the wonderful lands of the North. Valleys filled with gems, bodiless wizards, gods who live as men, and islands that sink and rise again. While all these are interesting reasons to go there, the journey is perilous. Since it was closed, no one has opened the Gate of iron. The other routes—through Durpar or across the Shaar to Var the Golden— force merchants to pay the tolls and taxes of these lands. So, the player characters have been hired to cross the Raurin desert and open the fabled Gate of iron—if they can. it seems like a simple task, but when the lords of Durpar and Var hear the news, they’ll do every thing in their power to stop the mission!

Game Information: Kalon Doring and his army still roam the glacier, much to the peril of any traveler foolish enough to cross it. They have been transformed into evil spirits, hating all the life of the “warmlanders.” This is their final punishment from the gods.

Ghalyi Shan

Glacier of the Dragon

Nineteen thousand feet high, this mountain marks the eastern end of Yarihang La. The mountain stands clearly above all the peaks around it. At the foot of the mountain is a small hermitage, Takshang. This is a small, poor place, tucked in a cleft halfway up a large cliff. There are no stairs or ladders to reach the dwelling, the hermit normally lowering a rope for his guests to climb. The cliff can be scaled. The hermitage is only a single building, three rooms, built into the cliff-side. it is the home of Gyawa Zangpo, a me-zu oni. He is serving out his sentence (imprisonment on Toril) here at the hermitage. He will be freed from his imprisonment when he has humbly carried the bundles of 10,000 travelers to the top of the pass. Thus he appears to every traveler and makes the same offer. Unfortunately he is short- tempered and often flies into a rage when refused. This can lead

Some claim this glacier is so named for its serpentine shape, winding between the peaks of the A-Ling Shan, but this is not the case. The Glacier of the Dragon is one of the major breeding grounds of white dragons. Honeycombed underneath the ice crust are miles of twisted tunnels and frozen caverns, the rookeries of the white dragons. Cave mouths open on the edge of glacial cliffs and into deep crevasses, providing secret entrances into the system of tunnels. in lands far beyond the mountains are rumors of the riches of an icy domain filled with dragon treasure. Adventurers and fools have been lured great distances in hopes of finding the fabled caverns and stealing the hordes of unguarded treasures therein. The Glacier of the Dragon is hardly unguarded. Aware of the danger to their broods, the white 50

dragons do not leave the caverns unprotected. In addition to their own formidable forms, they allow the presence of other creatures—yeti, cave bears, snow leopards, and greater oni—provided none threaten the safety of the young dragons. Few adventurers manage to find the isolated glatier and fewer still manage to escape alive.

Gogrus River This river is the only known route into the interior of Ra-Khati. Even then, it is a narrow and dangerous route. Starting in the frozen heights of the Katakoro Mountains, the Gogrus flows through Ra-Khati to Cherrapunni Nor. From there it joins the Jumpa River. The Gogrus is one of the sacred rivers of the southern lands, part of the pilgrimage to the Sacred Sources of the Gaya. Pilgrims who choose to go up the Gogrus must stop at Cherrapunni Nor. From there they travel up the Gogrus to where the Dharbang enters the “Bed of Two Lovers.” The waters here have special healing properties (see Dharbang). Beyond this junction, the Gogrus enters a narrow gorge, barely wide enough for both the rushing waters and the trail that follows it. The gorge leads to the Rainbow Falls, where the Akundi River joins the Gogrus. Here a winding path, the Rainbow Trail, climbs the sheer face of the cliff to reach the top of the falls. Along the path are six hospices operated by the Order of Rainbow Monks. Travelers are welcomed at these stations and provided food and shelter for the difficult climb. The monks charge nothing for their services, but ask for donations to their order. Beyond the Rainbow Fails, the gorge continues, becoming even narrower and rougher. The trail is little used, leading to the thinly populated uplands of Ra-Khati. Eventually the trail ends, as the canyon becomes impossible for even the nimblest goat to follow.

The Golden Flow is unique among rivers for its water truly is golden in color. Although many a fool wizard has wasted his money and skills trying to separate the “gold” from the water, the coloring is no more than an illusion. The headwaters of the river are tainted by minerals leached from the rocks of the Raurin Alta. These colorful deposits give the water a metallic taste. To humans, the water tastes bitter but is not harmful. Dwarves find it quite appealing, the mineral content actually increasing its flavor. To elves, spirit folk, and any of their blood, the water causes painful burning and rashes, almost as if they were allergic. This property is sometimes put to use by the Caliph and judges of Semphar to determine if a person has elvish ancestry.

Grave Mounds These lonely hillocks are found throughout the steppe. They are the grave sites of the nomads that roam across the Endless Waste. The mounds, containing the body and personal effects of the dead, are built on sacred sites. Typical places for mounds are hilltops or copses. The mound is usually marked by a cairn of stones. The mounds are never built near water, since this is considered a very ill omen. Most grave mounds have nothing more in them than a body and a few simple offerings. Typical contents include slain horses, sheep, and cattle; leather bags of kumiss or dried meat: or some favorite piece of jewelry or armor. Nearly all of these are badly decayed or corroded and of little value anyway. A rare few mounds have small items of value—weapons or jewelry. The grave mounds of the powerful and wealthy are seldom found on the plain since most of the important

The Golden Flow The Golden Flow, or the “Tail of Semphar” as it is sometimes called, begins in the dry peaks of the Raurin Alta and cuts through the arid land till it reaches the Gbor Nor. It is a green belt through the arid land of southern Semphar, marking the border between the Caliphate and the burning emptiness of the Raurin Desert. 51

turbed, but once roused become consumed with a hatred for all living things. Game Information: Should characters ever break into a grave mound (for whatever reason), it is strongly recommended that they suffer in one form or another—to teach them to respect the dead. Their teacher can either be a powerful undead or a clan reprisal. While only a few mounds are likely to harbor undead creatures (15% of all grave mounds found), the player characters should find one, especially if they are involved in grave robbing. The type of undead will vary according to the level of the player characters, but should be chosen from the following:

dead are buried in the Ejen Horo. Few grave mounds are disturbed. The tribes leave the dead alone out of respect, fear of taboos, and the unwillingness to start a blood- feud between the two clans. Goblin-kind and giantkind leave the graves alone out of fear, both of retaliation and a healthy fear of the dead things themselves. This is the final protection, for some (but not all) of the mounds harbor fearsome undead. These creatures are content to lie undis-

Skeleton Zombie Ghoul Haunt Poltergeist Wight


Wraith Revenant Spectre Ghost

(Note that the more powerful undead are not included on this list. It is not a good idea to use the major monsters in random encounters.) As an alternative to undead, the player characters can also incur the wrath of the tribe that built the mound. This is only effective if the player characters plan to remain on the steppe (where they can be targets). It is not difficult for the nomads to learn the identity of the desecrater. First, they tend to be superb trackers and will follow a trail if there is one. Second, the clans have many of the same resources as the player characters, even in spells and magical items. They can cast such spells as speak with dead and commune to learn the characters’ identities. They have magical items that can hunt down the offenders. Most of all, they have the time and mobility. As nomads, they do not have to be anywhere at any set time. if it takes them three days, a month, or more to find the enemy, it means little to them. Player characters could quickly come to regret breaking tribal taboos.

took the words to heart and have been attempting to fulfill the words ever since. Work is nearly complete on the tower, and would have been much sooner if it had not been for the Glass-breakers. The Glass-breakers are a splinter sect of this cult. Fifty years ago, as the work first came close to completion, a charismatic, but fearful, gnome argued a different interpretation of the prophecy. According to Lurdas Jasperstone, all the world would be plunged into fire—i.e., returned to the glory of Gond—if the tower was completed. Falling to persuade the eiders, he and his followers embarked on a campaign of terrorism and destruction, setting the work back several decades. Today, the two groups are in a stalemate. Lurdas and his followers have been driven to the farthest corners of the island. Members of the cult of Gond continue to build the spire. Meanwhile, the Glass-breakers try to destroy the tower as quickly as it is repaired. They make midnight raids, burn factories, terrorize workers, and even bombard the tower with catapults. Neither side has been able to make significant headway.

The Great Spire of the Ice Sea Located in the middle of the Yal Tengri is a small island, uncharted on any map. It is a cold and windy place, with few comforts. Little grows on its rocky surface, only a few scrubby trees and scraggly patches of heather. Dominating the island is a single, towering, cathedral-like spire. it rises from the center and can been seen from anywhere on the shore. it glints and shines in the sunlight, sparkling like a mirror. Ships sailing the Yai Tengri use it as a beacon in the daytime. The spire is the product of gnomish engineering. The island is home to a small colony of gnomes, a somewhat strange cult of Gond, the Wonderbringer. The gnomes live in half-buried communities clustered around the base of the Great Spire. Here they toil in their workshops, making the durable glass needed to build the tower. Heat and power come from the many hot springs and volcanic vents that cover the island. The gnomes are struggling to fulfill an ancient prophecy. This promises that when the spire is completed, the world will once again be returned to the glory of Gond. Lost since the days of the Raumathar Empire, the prophecy was rediscovered several centuries ago. This group of gnomes

Game Information: in this tightly balanced conflict, a group of player characters could be just the weight needed to shift the balance. Both sides are earnest and committed to their cause and each believes in the ultimate goal. Any visit here is going to be equivalent to visiting a madhouse. Will Gond reward his followers or destroy the world? It is a little of both. When completed, the tower will open a doorway to his realm, where he will welcome his devoted followers. It will also unleash a powerful volcano that will destroy the island and all on it. 53

Game Information: Sheik Ar-Rabi’s band, the self-styled Desert Wind, live by raiding the communities of southern Murghom and other tribes of the desert. Under his command, the Desert Wind has become a powerful threat to the safety of all travelers. The Sheiks band is 350 men strong. All are mounted and carry an assortment of weapons. They wear studded leather armor or chain mail and carry small shields. in addition, the Sheik is assisted by Al-Warrakh, a wizard; Abu Jafar, a priest of Cyric; and Yasir and Mabad, his lieutenants. These men are loyal to him, although they are not without their own ambitions.

Grinning Skull Oasis

Griffon Mountains

This grimly-named oasis has an equally grim history. Established in the waning years of the imaskar Empire, when the desert was closing over the once fertile lands, the Imaskari transformed the only well in the region into a deadly trap. Now it stands in the desert, a sole promontory weathered into the rough outline of a skull, surrounded by six shimmering pools. Knowing the oasis was necessary to travelers, whether merchants or army, the wizards of Imaskari magically changed the water of the well into a poison deadly to creatures but harmless to plants. At the same time, they could not completely destroy the oasis, since their own people needed its water to reach the outside world. Thus, they divided the flow of water into a series of six pools. The water from five of these can kill instantly. The sixth pool is harmless. The water from all six is clear and sweet-tasting. As the final touch to their evil deception, the wizards altered the oasis so that each morning a different pool was safe to drink. Although logicalminded people reason the wizards must have set some pattern for this change, no one has discovered any sequence yet. The oasis is not deserted, however. A group of desert bandits led by Sheik Ar-Rabi has made this their base. They have a simple solution to their drinking water problem. When they need to refill their cisterns, prisoners are forced to drink from the pools until the safe one is found. When necessary the Sheik uses desert lizards, dunking the little creatures into the pools. “The lizards are equally accurate, but the Sheik far prefers human victims.

This is the name of a small range of mountains between the Scarlet Jungle and the River Hiedar in Durpar. The peaks here are not particularly high, although the land is very rocky and broken. The range gains its name from the large flocks of griffons seen in the region. Those living in foothills make their living by searching out griffon nests and stealing and training the young birds. The lord of Durpar often sends gifts of trained riding griffons to the kings and princes of other lands.

Hagga Shan This is a small range of mountains nestled against the edge of the Yai Tengri. Heavily blanketed under snows blowing off the ocean, the Hagga Shan is a lonely range, little visited by merchants. The forested slopes are used by the nomads in both the summer and winter. The Hagga Shan provides building materials, pasturage, and shelter from the snows of winter. The Hagga Shan is also the home to a community of dwarves who sailed across the Yai Tengri from Sossai. These dwarves, the red- bearded Herlinga Clan, live in caverns on the western side of the Glittering Spires, as they call the Hagga Shan. These peaks are so named for the brilliant white caps of snow they bear year-round. Here the Herlinga mine tin, smelt it, and then sell it to merchants from Naupau in Sossai. Contact between the nomads of the steppe and the Herlinga is rare, so rare that the nomads have a superstitious dread of the “little men.” The Herlinga, accustomed to more casual treatment in the west, find the nomads’ fears comical. The 54

dwarves often play upon these fears to close bargains or commit practical jokes, which only strengthen the fears and suspicions of the nomads. The Herlinga are relatively new to the region. They arrived in the mountains only 300 years ago. Some of the oldest members of the clan remember the early days when Ilsik Herlingson first discovered the caverns of Glittering Spires. The Herlinga still maintain many of the ways of their original homeland in Sossai, although the clan is slowly becoming more oriental. Silk has become more common, along with exotic foods and spices of the east. The dwarves obtain these goods on their infrequent trips to the market at the Ni-ko Oasis. To make the trip to the distant trading center, the Herlinga have taken to raising goats for carrying the ingots of tin. The goats are easier than mules or camels for the dwarves to manage and are hardy enough to survive on the slopes of the Hagga Shan.

This time, however, the Naican and Commani are innocent—although the characters shouldn’t discover this until they’ve had the chance to make false accusations. The trail points, instead, to a fire-breathing monster living high up in one of the lonely valleys of the Hagga Shan. Believing it perhaps to be a hell-hound or even a small dragon, the characters are actually faced off against a dreaded shimnus, one of the powerful fiends of the wasteland.

Adventure Idea: The goat herds of the Herlinga are a vital part of the dwarvish life. Besides making excellent pack animals, they provide wool, milk, and meat for the clan. Unfortunately, the herds also create an irresistible temptation for the nomads. Someone’s been raiding the goats! Goatrustlers have struck. The evidence points to the Naican, one of the tribes of horsemen. The Herlinga want a group to track down the thieves, punish them, and bring back the stolen herds. The dwarves would do it themselves, but their short legs cannot compete with the swift horses of the steppe. Thus, they need riders to do the job for them. Of course, few adventures are as simple and straight-forward as this one seems. As the players will discover, the goat herds were not stolen by the Naican, but by a band of Commani raiders. The dwarves, not familiar with all the tribes, have accused the wrong group. It’s up to the player characters to sort out the confusion and set everything right. Just when the players return and are hailed as heroes of the day by the Herlinga, the goats begin to disappear again. Apparently the tribes are at it again and the player characters must teach them a lesson. (if the players ask why, it is a matter of honor—their duty, since they were supposed to solve the problem in the first place.)

Hollow Crown Mountains Sitting on the edge of the Yellow Serpent Border Cliffs, the Hollow Crown Mountains mark the northern edge of the old kingdom of Guge. The most notable feature of the mountains is the Glatier of the Lost King. The mountains gain their name from the bowl-like valley at the center. This isolated valley can only be reached by hidden passes. Living in the valley are the spirit folk of Guge, the remnants of the old kingdom. These people (spirit folk as described in Oriental Adventures) were once the proud and haughty rulers of all the Katakoro Plateau. Cruel and ruthless oppressors of other races, the old kingdom of Guge was finally destroyed by the Kao Dynasty of Shou Lung. The last survivors of the kingdom retreated into the hidden valley of these mountains. in the centuries that have followed, the Gugari have kept themselves in strict isolation from the outside world. They live much as they did centuries ago. Within the valley they have attempted to recreate the glories of their kingdom and keep their ways intact for the day when they will return and avenge their ancestors. Two large cities are found in the valley, one at 55

The Gugari are a smallish race of people with thick, blond hair. They are the descendants of mountain spirits. They are hardy, inured to cold and rain. The men are muscular and stocky, women are slender and fair. During the summer months, the men dress in little more than loincloths and the women wear thin silken robes. in the winter, men and women wear warm coats of yak wool, dyed in bright greens and rich browns. Only the highest members of the ruling class, the princes and princesses, wear the colors blue and red. The Gugari are supposed to be ruled by a king, but none has been named since the disappearance of Kalon Doring, the mad king, on the Glatier of the Lost King. Since then, the eastern people have been ruled by the Council of Regents. All the regents trace their bloodlines back to the brothers of Kalon Doring. The western people are ruled by the True Princes, who in turn trace their bloodlines back to the children of Kalon Doring. This political division is the original split that has resulted in the feud now existing between east and west.

each end. Each city houses a rival faction of Gugari. While both factions are thoroughly decadent and evil, each also hates the other. The eastern faction is firmly dedicated to the old ways in speech, dress, and customs. The western faction has developed new traditions and uses a different dialect. Although these are only superficial differences, the people of Guge hold them to be of deadly importance, The two factions are barely able to control their hatred for each other.


The split also divided the priests and wizards. The priests, who worshipped Niynjushigampo (Bhaal, God of Death), stayed with the regents. The wizards, specialists in necromancy, sided with the princes. Thus each group has had the services of one of the major spell-casting groups. Since the Time of Troubles, the priesthood has been wracked by internal dissension. The more ambitious priests have recognized the power of the new god Sirhivatizangpo (Cyric), while others, particularly the leaders of the temples, still insist that Niynjushigampo lives. The wrangling between the two groups has weakened the power of the regents, something that has not gone unnoticed by the princes of the western city. The Gugari have a very corrupt culture. Great importance is placed on death, including the offering of sacrifices. Prisoners, including unfortunate travelers, are tortured and killed for the amusement of the upper classes. inbreeding among the ruling class has produced atavismsregressions — in the bloodline. The centuries of isolation and absolute power have decayed and twisted the moral standards of the rulers. The common folk of the valley do not suffer from all these flaws. For example, they are not as heavily inbred or as opulently decadent as their masters. However, the moral laxity of the upper class has affected them, too. Theft and even more hedonistic crimes are common and to some extent tolerated. Only murder meets with outrage, because the population is so small. Every effort is made to capture the murderer, who; if caught, is executed in a grotesque public display, much to the delight of the population. Truly notorious criminals are executed on the high festival days. Whether regent, prince, or commoner, the Gugari are very strict about social class. The rulers of each land live in fortresslike palaces with white-washed sides and blockhouse walls. The upper balconies are of elaborately carved wood and the roofs are brightly colored tile. These palatial fortresses are built atop craggy spires of stone. Clustered around the bases are the tempies and shrines, then the homes of the common citizens. Outside all this are the terraced fields of the city. A band of pasture and woodland separates the eastern city from the western city. The distinction of social class extends beyond upper and lower class. Within each are levels of

status based on bloodline, accomplishments of ancestors, money, and occupation. A poor prince who is the direct descendant of Kalon Doring will always receive more respect than a wealthy prince who traces from the third son. A wealthy tanner will still be treated with contempt by the other merchants in town, for the tanner’s job is unclean and vile. It is virtually impossible to change one’s social rank. Although they are isolated from the outside, the Gugari are aware of much that has happened in the outer world since the downfall of Guge. The priests and wizards use their magic to stay informed. Travelers, though rare, are carefully interrogated (sometimes politely, usually not). The Gugari still harbor ambitions to reclaiming their old empire and to do so, they have kept themselves aware of events. However much they talk of reconquest, the Gugari are not likely to accomplish it. Without knowing, they have developed a fear of the outside world, or at least a fear of leaving their own valley. This, more than anything else, is what has kept them from expanding into the power vacuum of the Katakoro Plateau. Game Information: The Gugari speak an ancient dialect of the Shou. They can be roughly understood by anyone who can speak the dialects of Shou Lung and T’u Lung. Such characters can easily learn the tongue without the use of a proficiency slot. Likewise, those who learn the language of the Gugari will have an equal ease at learning any one dialect of the Shou. The temples of Niynjushigampo and Sirhivatizangpo have both standard and specialty priests. (The specialty priests have the powers of Bhaal


Horseshoe Temple Oasis Hidden in the jumble of mountains and valleys of the Quoya Desert is this lush oasis and ancient temple. The Horseshoe Temple Oasis is a series of holy caves carved into the side of a sandstone cliff located at the end of a box canyon. A small pyramid of stone marks the entrance to the temple-canyon. In this canyon, pure, fresh water bubbles up from underground. The water supply is ample and the springs never dry out. The bottom of the canyon is carpeted in grasses and flowers through which flow several small streams, spreading out from the spring. Along the back wall of the canyon, screening the cave entrances, is a thick stand of pine trees, planted here over 200 years ago by the priests who carved the caves. Behind the grove are the temple caves. They are carved into the red rock wall. There are over 30 caves, carved at different heights, from ground level to over four stories above the canyon floor. A broad staircase, carved from the foot of the cliff, climbs to a terrace where the entrances to the lowest caves are. Other caves are reached by staircases carved through the rock or wooden galleries that hang on the cliff face. The caves are lit by small windows cut into the rock face. The entire complex faces south, so the chambers receive some light throughout the day. The largest chamber of the temple, three stories up, contains the relic which gives the temple its name. in the center of the room is a large chunk of polished sandstone. in its surface is the impression of a large horseshoe. According to legend, the Heavenly Sage, Hung Te Ping, stopped here to refresh himself on one of his journeys between the Celestial Bureaucracy and Shou Lung. The sage’s wonderful horse struck its hoof against the stone, leaving the print that is now in the shrine. This incident has made the ground holy in the eyes of the priests of the Way. In addition to the main chamber, there are many other caves with interesting features. On the lowest level are the Grottos of the Nine Sages, one cave devoted to each of the nine great sages of Shou Lung. Above these are the Halls of Life and Death. Each hall houses the masks and costumes needed to perform the dances of the seasons. Further up are the Chambers of the Emperor Kao,

and Cyric, respectively, as described in the FORGOTTEN REALMS Adventures book. The majority of the wizards in the valley are necromancers, and have dedicated themselves to dark and evil practices. There are some non- specialized wizards, but virtually no other type of specialist is found. While the majority of the valley’s inhabitants are evil, not everyone is thoroughly blackhearted. Some individuals and families are good at heart, kind, and well-meaning. Such families keep to themselves, hoping to avoid the attention of their corrupt and profligate neighbors. Such people might aid those who shared their feelings, especially if the visitors offered the hope of instructing the Gugari in the error of their ways. It is not impossible for player characters to enter and explore the valley. Although the passes are concealed and guarded, the princes and regents do not immediately capture or kill anyone who enters. Instead, visitors are escorted to the appropriate palace where they can be presented to the officials. Both factions are keenly interested in anything that might give them an advantage over their enemies. Strangers with unusual powers are often used as pawns in the struggle. it is only when the visitors are no longer useful or have become dangerous that the rulers will arrest and eliminate their guests. Thus, between the rare friendly commoner and the scheming lords, the player characters can visit the valley. it is and should always be a dangerous place to visit for the player characters. Adventures set here should always be nervewracking sessions for the players.


built in honor of the great ruler. These chambers are filled with gifts from the emperors of many dynasties. Many are quite valuable. In the past year, disaster has befallen the temple. A band of evil oni have slain the priests and made the caves their permanent residence. A few priests escaped, fleeing back to Shou Lung. The oni are served by a band of goblins who settled at the far end of the oasis. This ragtag group arrived here after straying too far from their western homeland. After escaping enraged dwarves, they were chased across the steppe by nomadic horsemen. Many of their number died on that march. The little creatures, though evil and vile, were thoroughly pathetic and miserable by the time they reached the Horseshoe Temple Oasis. The priests, according to their beliefs, allowed the goblins to settle in the canyon, provided they behaved themselves. Every day the holy men instructed the goblins, hoping to show the creatures the wisdom of the Way. Amazingly, the priests’ efforts were meeting with success. When the oni arrived, they enslaved the goblins. Still, the little ones have not forgotten the kindness and teachings of the priests. They view their present servitude with a mixture of regret and fatalism. in their limited understanding of the Way, many see the oni as a punishment for the past sins of the goblins.

Although the oni have destroyed many of the items of value, not everything is ruined. Throughout the various caves are the following magical items: Bell of warning, biwa of calm, and eight diagram coins. The goblins have a set of charms of protection from spirits. These were on the lintels of the main floor until the oni ordered the goblins to remove them. in addition to these items, Halbasho has a bag of dust of illusion (13 uses), a potion of invisibility, a +3 battleaxe, and +2 full plate armor (of Shou manufacture). His fellow oni have no magical items. Of the nonmagical items, the few that remain are widely spread throughout the chambers. There are silver ornaments worth a total of 40 gp, 600 platinum coins (brought by the goblins who, stole them from the dwarves of the Firepeaks), and a collection of gems pried from broken statuary: a cracked eye agate (5 gp), five polished lapis lazuli (10 gp each), five carnelians (50 gp each), five moonstones (50 gp each), a chipped piece of jet (60 gp), five rose pearls (500 gp each), four blood-red garnets (500 gp each), two aquamarines (500 gp each), and an exceptionally fine fire opal (2,000 gp).

Game Information: The Horseshoe Temple is currently occupied by 10 common oni, led by Halbasho the Smart. One oni stands guard, day and night, at the mouth of the canyon. The others are normally found in the caves, systematically defacing the grottos. Under Halbasho’s supervision; they are converting the temple to the service of Li Pei, lord of the underworld. Many of the fine artworks and ancient treasures have been destroyed. The goblins, 27 strong, have been forced to help the oni in this work. This they have done with great reluctance, for, due to the instruction of the priests, the goblins are now neutral good in alignment. Of course, their old natures are not completely gone. if attacked or abused, they will either fight back or, as in the case of the oni, cower and wait for the chance to gain revenge. If the player characters should aid the goblins or demonstrate trust, the creatures may actually aid the group.

Howling Gap This break between the mountains of Teyla Shan and the Raurin Alta is the major trade passage between Semphar and the East. Passing through the gap is the Silk Road, running from Dhaztanar to Shou Lung. The land rises from the Semphar plain to the higher altitudes of the east, although the space here is too broad to be considered a pass. No one is certain how the Howling Gap received its name. Three stories are commonly told. The 59

first and most prosaic is that the gap is named for the numerous tribes of baboons found here. The creatures howl and bark when threatened, raising quite a din. The second story says the gap is named for the fierce winds that sometimes sweep east to west, pouring off the high desert plain. These winds, scorching in summer and bone-chilling in winter, raise huge dust storms that impede travel. The third story is the most fanciful. Supposedly the gap is named for the howls of enraged djinn that roam the region. These elementals, barred from their own plane, were the work of the Imaskari wizards who bound the creatures to guard the empire. Now, with the empire long since collapsed, these beasts still attempt to carry out the commands of their ancient masters. Although this last is an unconfirmed tale, the Howling Gap has a history of danger and death. Every year some caravans disappear. Some’ are never heard from again while others reach shelter badly shattered, attacked by something in the winds. Several garrisons stationed in the gap have been destroyed. The current Caliph has made no attempt to occupy this frontier. Bandits do not base here. Natives refuse to settle in the jaws of the gap, telling tales of bad omens, evil luck, and death. The Howling Gap was one of the two main routes of advance used by Hubadai in his conquest of Semphar. Three tumens of horsemen seized the gap and advanced onto the Semphar plain. These tumens were not disturbed by evil spirits, but the Tuigan, being superstitious, did not leave any forces in the gap to garrison it. Game Information: The Howling Gap is patrolled, after a fashion, by djinn, although


whether bound by ancient wizards or here for other reasons is unknown. There is a 5% chance per day spent in the Gap (not cumulative) that 2-8 djinn will attack. They always strike under the guise of a powerful dust storm, using the confusion created by the wind to increase their odds. They are not always victorious and have been defeated in the past, but losses have never seemed to dampen their fury or their overall numbers.

Icerim Mountains Once these mountains were the eastern edge of the Great Glacier, but in three centuries, the curtain of ice has receded from these peaks. This isolated range of mountains, a tail of the larger ranges adjacent to the Great Glacier, now marks the farthest eastern influence of the Nars, the semi-nomadic people of Narfell. Like the glacier, the Nars too have receded, and the tribes that have remained in this region are forgotten by the bulk of Narfell. The largest of these tribes is the Myir who have settled at Nathoud. Unlike their cousins, the Myir have abandoned their nomadic ways in favor of a permanent settlement. Smaller tribes live on the slopes of the Icerim Mountains. These include the Tark, Chif, and Dagranost. These tribes have kept to the more traditional lifestyle of the Nar, although they have been heavily influenced by the horsemen of the steppe. Indeed, it is on the subject of horses that the tribes show the largest difference from their western cousins. The Nars pride themselves on being the finest horsemen in all the Realms. That may be, but they have fared poorly against the mounted tribes of the Endless Waste. Having suffered at the hands of the Tuigan horsemen, the natives of the Icerim have generally adopted one of three different paths. Some, like those of Nathoud, have settled and fortified. Others, those living higher in the mountains, have abandoned the horse in favor of infantry and magic. Finally, those living on the eastern side of the Icerim have adopted many of the ways and tactics of the steppe dwellers. These tribes have lost nearly all their identification with Narfell. With the advance of the Horde on Rashemen and the West, the tribes of the Icerim were forced to choose sides. Most of the tribes on the eastern

slopes joined the Tuigan as auxiliary troops. The citizens of Nathoud surrendered without any resistance. The tribesmen of the mountains retreated into the high valleys where they have fought a stubborn resistance every since.

Iliphanar This small village is located at the mouth of the Goldenflow, where it would have been nothing but a sleepy backwater had it not been for the marvelous nature of that river. Instead, Iliphanar is the starting point for prospectors and fools bent on finding their fortune in the dusty peaks of the Raurin Alta. Coupled with being a waystation for caravans on the Silk Road, Iliphanar has a small reputation throughout the region. Although the palace of Emir Abi Talid is the physical heart of the town, the buildings are graceless blockhouses of gold-flecked stone. Far more well-known and lively is the Street of Bricks. Many notable businesses are found here: the Camel House, favored by caravan-masters; the Three Arcades, where outfitters display their wares; and the Melon House, an inn renowned for its fine comforts and food. Since all these are concentrated near the Silk Gate, this section of Iliphanar is a boisterous and lively place. Common citizens do business here, but prefer to dwell in the quieter parts of town. When the Horde conquered Semphar, the Caliph fled to lliphanar and attempted to make a stand behind the walls of the Emir’s palace. Hubadai, commander of the Tuigan, besieged the palace after sacking the rest of the town. He finally forced the garrison to surrender by redirecting the course of the Goldenflow, thus denying the garrison drinking water. Upon surrender, the Ca61

liph, Emir and all their advisors were burned alive inside the palace. The remaining garrison was enlisted into the Horde’s army. Game Information: The Emir is charged with the task of protecting the Silk Road from bandits as it runs along the Goldenflow. Patrols of 11 to 20 warriors (led by a fighter of 4th to 6th level and assisted by a mage of 4th level) travel the banks of the river as far as the foothills of the Raurin Alta. A garrison of 500 men is maintained at the Emir’s palace at all times. The Emir also maintains a number of spies in the markets and inns of the Street of Bricks who report on the activities of strangers. It is entirely possible a group of player characters could be mistaken for bandits, especially if they are flashing a large amount of wealth.

Iris Well Spring This oasis is little visited, being off the path of most groups. The spring is surrounded by a field of dwarf iris. For most of the year, it is a dreary, quiet place. However, in the spring the fields blossom in stands of rich blue flowers, creating a beautiful garden on the edge of the steppe. At the spring there is one small farm of two buildings, the home of Atabeg Ali al-Mustasib, a former regent of Semphar, now exiled to this lonely plantation on the edge of the Teyla Shan. There he lives with his daughter, Dura, and a small bodyguard. Once a year a jailer from Semphar arrives to ensure that the atabeg has not fled and to bring a small store of supplies. At infrequent intervals, supporters from Semphar visit, bringing news and more goods. These visits can be dangerous for the former ruler since the current Caliph

has been known to send spies in hopes of learning who al-Mustasib’s supporters are. The atabeg has been carefully cultivating good relations with the Tuigan, since he sees in them the possibility of regaining his power in Semphar. He has every ambition of returning someday and overthrowing the Caliph and seizing the throne. For the invasion of Semphar, Hubadai enlisted the aid of al-Mustasib. The atabeg’s advice concerning the Caliph’s temperament, the quality of Semphar’s troops, and the strengths and weaknesses of the walled cities proved invaluable to the campaign. As a reward, al- Mustasib was made an advisor to the military governor of the land. To ensure his good behavior, Hubadai seized Dura and added her to his concubines, thus keeping her hostage. With the collapse of the Yamun Khanate, al- Mustasib has been plotting rebellion. Although he is willing to sacrifice his daughter, the atabeg would pay handsomely for her rescue. Unknown to alMustasib, Dura has borne two of Hubadai’s sons.

Jade Gate Spring This small town is one of the lesser gates of the Dragonwall. Here the gates open onto a littleused trail through the Quoya desert to the Horseshoe Temple Oasis and the Merket Oasis. The town is fortified on all sides, forming a citadel that grows out of the Dragonwall. The majority of the inhabitants are human and native to Shou Lung, but the magistrate of the town has allowed barbarians to settle here. In particular, there is a small colony of korobokuru. These little people have formed a separate town within Jade Gate Spring itself. Here they tend groves of peaches and oranges. Generally they do not mingle with the humans, viewing them with a mixture of fear and dislike. The magistrate has also “civilized” some of the nomadic tribesmen of the region, inducing them to settle just outside the walls. These barbarians are not allowed to live within Shou Lung, but can enter the town during the day. The civilized barbarians are considered Shou by the true nomads of the plains. The magistrate does make some use of these people as scouts and spies, to keep him informed of barbarian activity.


Although the town is now a small backwater, it was once the starting point for many caravans and travelers who followed the old trail across the Quoya Desert to the west. Jade Gate Spring is the setting for many sorrowful ballads, poems, and dramas. The three gates of the town have romantic names: the Door of Necessity, a small gate used for everyday business; the Jade Gate, which leads to Shou Lung; and the Gate of Sighs, the grimmest of them all. Here, in story, lovers part, exiled princes depart, and soldiers march to their doom. Although the town of Jade Gate Spring was untouched during the Horde invasion, the magistrate took no chances. When news of the disastrous collapse of the frontier came, he ordered the massacre of all the “civilized” barbarians outside the walls and the expulsion of the korobokuru. Many of the barbarians, escaped and fled to the camps of the Tuigan where they served as scouts and interpreters. Following the expulsion, the magistrate confiscated all the property he could and has used this wealth to raise a private mercenary army. Now thoroughly corrupt, he rules Jade Gate Spring and the surrounding lands with a despotic hand. The Emperor, still recovering from the invasion, has yet to deal with this self-styled warlord.

In addition to the surface works, there are many tunnels and passages carved into the mountain. Except for a few lost exits, these passages can only be entered through the ruins. The passages once led to underground quarries, storerooms, armories, and natural caves. Not even the builders of the fortress knew how far these passages reached. Local custom holds that the fortress was built by rebels battling the might of the Mulhorand Empire. This was supposedly their base of operations for raids through the Howling Gap and across the Teyla Shan. In time the victims of those raids counter-attacked with a special force of wizards, priests, and warriors. Those caught here were horribly murdered and the power of the rebels was broken from then on. Today, normal men don’t go anywhere near the fortress of Jorhat. The few caravans that still follow the Old iron Road hurry quickly past the Two Brothers. Wise caravan masters time their passage to avoid the need to camp anywhere near this area. According to standard belief, the site is haunted by evil spirits and the vengeful dead slain there.

Jorhat Shan This pair of mountains, also known as the Two Brothers, is one of the major landmarks of the Endless Waste. The twin peaks rise well above the hilly plain, the taller of the two— Jorhat Shan— reaching an elevation of 14,389 feet above sea level. The peaks are barren and rocky with few trees growing on the slopes. About halfway up the side of Jorhat Shan is the ruin of an ancient citadel known now only as the Fortress of Jorhat. The ruins cover several acres of steeply sloped mountain side. The ground is a combination of terraces, cliffs, crags, and overhangs, Packed into this difficult terrain is a closely packed jumble of buildings, alleys, streets, and walls. All the construction is of brick and stone. Much of the fortress area is collapsed. Tumbled walls block narrow alleys. Roofs have fallen in. Many of the buildings are unsound and could collapse without warning.

Jumpa River The Jumpa River is considered one of the great rivers of the world—at least by those who have seen it. Starting in the heights of the Katakoro Shan, it flows down the front of this range, past the A-Ling Shan, and through the Great Pass of the Yehimal where it joins the Gaya, the River of Life. What makes the Jumpa impressive is both the volume of water it carries and the great chasm it has cut. The Jumpa is the major drainage river of 63

many cold-loving creatures which plague the surrounding countryside. Fortunately for the two kingdoms, the jagged peaks of the Katakoros keep most of these monsters well away from settled lands.

Khalab This simple fishing village on the shores of Gbor Nor is not famed for its food, accommodations, or wonders. Yet to a select group, it is worth a long and dangerous journey. Living here, in Baelzur’s Tower, is Salid Dhuzma, protegee of Tilmar Wanderfoot, the Grand Verser of the South. Although his title is informal and unofficial, Salid is a poet and bard of great distinction. Hopeful students come from great distances to study at his feet. Although it is well-known that Dhuzma only takes on one student a year, hundreds of novice bards apply to him at the start of the season. Dhuzma lives in Khalab by choice, spurning the riches and fame he could make in the larger cities on the shores of the Gbor Nor. In addition to extolling the virtues of a simple life through song and poetry, the verser knows much of the lore of the Gbor Nor, the great lake. For those willing to pay his fees, he can tell of great sea battles, shipwrecks, sunken cities, and even some of the secrets of Bhaluin.

the whole western face of the mountains. Each year it swells to a tremendous crest as it carries the spring run-off from the lower slopes. The roaring water tears and grinds away almost anything in its path and has done so for centuries. As a result, the river now rushes through a broad, steep-sided chasm. This gorge averages 1,000 feet in depth, the sides of crumbling, mist-coated rock. This chasm, which starts at the northern tip of Ra-Khati, makes the Jumpa a formidable barrier. Between the start of the chasm and the Great Gap, there is only one crossing point, the Great Chain Bridge of Ra-Khati. This bridge, broken for many years, has been recently rebuilt. The iron chains supporting the wood and hemp structure are as thick as a man’s waist and crusted in rust. The bridge continually sways and rumbles to the pounding rhythm of the water below. Because of its impressive features and its connection to the Gaya, the Jumpa is one of the sacred rivers visited by pilgrims from the south. From it, some pilgrims follow the Gogrus to its source while others go to any one of the hundreds of other sacred sources of the Gaya.

Katakoro Shan The Katakoro Shan is a small range of mountains (in comparison to the mighty Yehimal further south) that forms the borders of Ra- Khati and Khazari. The peaks are extremely rugged, reaching up to a height of about 19,000 feet. There are several small glaciers on the western side, looking down on the valleys of the two king doms, but the most notable sight is the massive Katakoro Glacier. This expanse of ice covers hundreds of square miles. The glacier is home to 64

“Why, why, why. You ask too many questions. Which snake is better, the one in your talons or the one in the grass? Hoekun Yamun, Khahan of the Tuigan, Illustrious Emperor of All Peoples

Credits Design: David “Zeb” Cook Editing: Steve Winter Box Cover Art: Larry Elmore Book Cover Art, Interior Illustrations: Doug Chaffee

Monster Illustrations: Thomas Baxa Cartography: Diesel Graphic Design: Stephanie Tabat Typography: Gaye O’Keefe

ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, AD&D, FORGOTTEN REALMS, PRODUCTS OF YOUR IMAGINATION, and the TSR logo are trademarks owned by TSR Inc. Distributed to the book trade in the United States by Random House Inc., and in Canada by Random House of Canada, Ltd. Distributed to the toy and hobby trade by regional distributors. Distributed in the United Kingdom by TSR UK Ltd. This material is protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America. Any reproduction or unauthorized use of the material or artwork presented herein is prohibited without the express written permission of TSR Inc. © 1990 TSR Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in the U.S.A.

ISBN O-88038-868-4


A Guidebook to the Endless Waste, Volume II Table of Contents Introduction How to Use This Set Using the Maps AD&D® 2nd Edition Game and Oriental Adventures A Note About Kara-Tur Maps Faerun, Kara-Tur, and the Endless Waste A Description of the World An Overview of the Endless Waste The Tribes Tribal Life Tribal Organization The Woman’s Place The Horseman Warrior Religion Magic Thieves Customs and Taboos Useful Sayings Foreigners Among the Nomads The Countries Languages A History of the Steppe Yamun Khahan and the Horde Recent Events The Army of Yamun Khahan

5 6 6 6 6 6 8 9 9 10 11 12 12 13 13 13 13 14 14 15 17 18 19 20 20

Encyclopedia of the Endless Waste 21

A-Ling Shan Ahs Trango Shan Alashan Almorel Ama Basin Ansi Oasis Beacon Cairn Bhaluin, the Drowned City Bitter Well Oasis Bright Beacon Springs Brightstar Lake Caves of a Thousand Gods

21 21 23 24 25 25 is 27 28 28 30 30

Cave of the Monkey Chang-liu-shui Oasis Cherrapunni Nor Citadel Rashemar Clearflow River Copper Mines Dead Dwarf Bridge Delbyl Dharbang River Dhaztanar Dragonwall, the Duirtanal Ejen Horo Estanil Fatula Chupa Firepeaks, the Flowery Pond Well Gate of Iron Ghalyi Shan Glacier of the Lost King Glacier of the Dragon Gogrus River The Golden Flow Grave Mounds The Great Spire of the Ice Sea Grinning Skull Oasis Griffon Mountains Hagga Shan Hollow Crown Mountains Horseshoe Temple Oasis Howling Gap Icerim Mountains Iliphanar Iris Well Spring Jade Gate Spring Jorhat Shan Jumpa River Katakoro Shan Khalab

32 33 34 35 36 37 37 38 39 39 42 44 44 45 46 47 49 49 50 50 50 51 51 51 53 54 54 54 55 58 59 61 61 62 62 63 63 64 64

A Guidebook to the Endless Waste, Volume II Table of Contents Khazari . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .69 Khopet-Dag . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .70 Kora Shan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .70 Kun-Yen Shan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71 The Valley of Exiles. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .71 The Valley of Dog-Men. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .72 The Valley of the Shan Sao. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 2 Kushk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .73 Kwachow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74 Lake of Mists . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .76 Leopard Shan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77 Mahamsaratsu Shan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .78 Manass . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78 Many-Windowed Tower, the . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .80 Merket Oasis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .81 Mountain of Iron, the. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .83 Mountains of Copper . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .84 Muren Khi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 5 Muren Tso . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .85 Nanhu Oasis. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .86 Nas Trango Shan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86 Nathoud................................86 Naupau . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .88 Neachal Fountain. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .88 Ni-Ko Oasis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .89 Noble Tombs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .89 Nor Yudoi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .90 Oboos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .90 Panjuis.................................91 Phannaskul............................92 Phelzel.................................92 Pigeon Rock Oasis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .93 Plains of Purple Dust . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .93 Pleasant Valley Gateway Oasis. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .93 Port Ghaast . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .94

PunakhaDzong..........................95 Quaraband..............................96 Ra-Khati................................97 Raudor.................................98 Rauthenflow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .100 Semkhrun . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .100 Semlithtol . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .101 Semphar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .101 Sentinelspire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 0 1 Shalhoond.............................103 Silk Road, the. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .103 Skardu................................103 Solon.................................103 Somraggah . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..104 Spice Road, the . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..105 Tiger’s Nest, the. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .106 Tsaparang Fortress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .106 Ustann................................107 Winterkeep. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .108 Yal Tengri . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .108 Yellow Thunder Falls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .108 ZandaTholing..........................109 Zindalankh.............................109

Terra Nova . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .110 Terra Firma . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 1 1 The Central Steppe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .112 The Prairies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 1 5 Terra Putura . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .119 The Forests . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .119 Terra Damnata . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .123 The Deserts. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .123 The Mountains . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .126 The Arctic Plain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 2 8

Khazari Khazari is a small nation of mountain dwellers under the nominal command of a hereditary prince. The land is named after the long Khazari Valley, formed by the enfolding arms of the Katakoro Shan. The Silk Road runs through the center of the country, making Khazari a strategic territory for the caravan trade. These caravans provide Khazari with most of its wealth, since the land here is poor and resources are few. The capital of Khazari is Skarou at the junction of the Shyok and Jumpa rivers. The capital is a modest city, symbolic of Prince Ogandi’s power. Although he is the ruler of the land, the prince has little control over most of the towns and fiefdoms. The towns are ruled by the governors, the fiefdoms by the knights. Once the ruling prince appointed the governors and gave knighthoods as rewards. Now, both of these positions are automatically handed down from father to son. Only rarely does the prince have the opportunity to alter the flow of succession. In addition to the knights and governors, the prince must also contend with the monks of the monasteries. Most of these follow the Path of Enlightenment. While not as intently single-minded as their brethren in Ra-Khati, the monks of Khazari are stubbornly independent. They see to their own affairs and refuse to submit to the rulings of the prince or any other lord. Finally, there is Shou Lung. Khazari has been a part of Shou Lung in the past. Although the struggles with T’u Lung have absorbed his attention, the Emperor of the Jade Throne has never abandoned his claim on Khazari. While he currently lacks the resources to reconquer this little nation, the Emperor does exert his influence over the Khazari. Prince Ogandi, along with many of the governors and knights, have Shou “advisors” to help them reach decisions— ones favorable to Shou Lung. Because Khazari is so divided, it can only raise a small army on short notice. Too many of the lords are caught up in personal feuds, preventing an effective overall command or strategy. This is just as Shou Lung wants it— Khazari too weak to present a threat. Each lord or town can assemble a decent garrison, sufficient to impress even the most blood- thirsty bandits, but Khazari is not capable of fielding real armies.

Of course, the majority of people here are not lords or monks. They are simple farmers and tradesmen. The farmers grow barley and millet, and raise yaks and sheep. The tradesmen make goods to sell to the caravans, brightly dyed cloth and leather being most in demand. Other merchants make their living selling more mundane supplies to the passing merchants: grain, meat, firewood, and saddles. Because it is the custom of the monasteries to provide shelter (in exchange for a donation), there are few inns or caravansaries in the kingdom. Khazari benefits and suffers because of its rugged borders. The mountains of the Katakoro Shan limit access to the land to a few small passes. These are easy to defend and the Khazari have built fortresses to protect these. However, the mountains also provide shelter to bandits, lured to the country by the wealth that travels the Silk Road. Because the lords mistrust each other, the government rarely assembles a force large enough to track down and exterminate the gangs. At best, each lord tries to protect the caravans as they move through his lands. Protection might mean an armed guard or a bribe to encourage the bandits to take their business elsewhere. Bribery is the method preferred by both bandits and lords. The bandits run fewer risks and the lords make up their costs by taxing the caravans. As a result, Khazari is considered an expensive and, unfortunately, necessary evil by the caravan masters. The only other routes from east to west are the long northern Spice Road and the Old iron Road. The Spice Road is cold and dangerous. The Old Iron Road is closed, the pass through the Katakoro Shan blocked by the kindly but fanatical citizens of Ra-Khati. 69

are needed to make anything of use. The spider-silk is gathered by yaqubi, mountaineers who make their living at this trade. The yaqubi are a tight-knit clan, seldom revealing the secrets of their trade to outsiders. Each man and woman has his own special web grounds, and jealously guards the location from all others. The yaqubi have developed techniques and tools for gathering the web in greater safety. These, too, are kept secret. The yaqubi are wise in the ways of the giant spiders. Foolish fortune-hunters seldom live long enough to gain these skills. In addition to Skarou, there are several other towns in Khazari. The second largest is Alashan, located on the border of the steppe. At the northern end of the country is the town of Hsiliang, a town of monasteries. Khazari was one of the first countries to fall to the Horde, a stepping stone to their invasion of Shou Lung. An army, led by Yamun Khahan himself, defeated the garrison at Alashan, thereby opening the border to his troops. Prince Ogandi, knowing his people could not defeat the vast numbers of the Horde, quickly sued for peace. Upon the advice of Yamun’s advisor Koja, the khahan’s son, Jadaran, was made governor of Alashan. With the armies of the khahan occupied elsewhere, Prince Ogandi has set about reducing the power of his upstart lords and reclaiming the rule of Khazari once again. He is confident that someday the Tuigan overlords will be gone. When that happens, he will be ready to resume control.

Game Information: When checking for encounters in the Khopet-Dag, there is a 33% chance that any encounter will be with some species of spider: large, huge, giant or even greater (if you want to create a larger creature). If the encounter is not with a spider, roll to determine the encounter on the appropriate encounter table. The spiders of these mountains normally have sizeable treasures, although not greater than what is allowed for their type. Spider-silk threads can be woven into cloth or twisted into rope. The stickiness of the thread is removed in the process. Spider-silk cloth is extremely light and soft. Clothes fashioned from it are very quiet (+ 5% to move silently). Spider-silk rope is thin and strong. A 50-foot length weighs just 5 pounds. It can hold up to 500 pounds without breaking. The rope is easy to conceal. Spider-silk items are expensive, however. A set of clothes easily costs 1,000 gp or more. A 50foot, length of rope costs 500 gp.


Kora Shan

North of the Shalhoond is a small range of mountains known as the Khopet-Dag, nicknamed the Spiderhaunt Peaks. The source of this name is obvious for the mountains are infested with spiders of all shapes and sizes. The peaks are dry and rocky on the northern slopes and wooded to the south, just the right climate for the population of giant arachnida. One consequence of this overabundance of spiders is the valuable spider-silk thread found in the mountains. Though no different from other thread, it is found here in great quantities. The silk is valued for cloth and rope of exceptional strength and lightness. However, huge quantities

The narrow spine of the Kora Shan runs like a backbone from the edges of the Quoya Desert through the heart of the Endless Waste, just falling short of the peaks of the Glittering Spires. The peaks cut across the steppe, dividing the nomadic tribes. Because of this, the mountains figure strongly in the legends, folklore, and history of the horse barbarians. Located along the edges of the mountains are several springs and oases used by the tribes. These have been the scene of many battles and raids between rival groups.


Kun-Yen Shan The northern edge of the great Yehimal Mountains is known as the Kun-Yen Shan. Here the lofty peaks rise abruptly from the low valley that marks the southern edge of the Katakoro Plateau. Peaks of the Kun-Yen Shan rise up to 23,000 feet. Small glaciers fill the gorges between massifs. Buried in the jumble of ranges are isolated valleys. These are islands of green hidden from the outside world. Most of these valleys are uninhabited. The deepest are thickly forested, populated by deer, monkeys, leopards, and tigers. Some have a few inhabitants, mostly intrepid humans who have settled in these valleys far from bothersome civilization. A few, however, have more interesting denizens. Each is described in brief below. None are placed precisely on the map and can be located whereever desired.

one of many places where the Emperor of Shou Lung sends political prisoners. Those condemned to this valley are never allowed to leave. Within the valley, the inhabitants are allowed to live as they wish, but contact with the outside world is strictly forbidden. To prevent any prisoners from escaping, the Mandarinate has set certain rules. The location of the valley is a closely guarded secret. No wizards or priests are exiled to the valley, instead being sent to special places suited to their powers. Likewise, only wizards and priests authorized by the emperor are allowed to enter the valley. All who attempt to enter the valley are challenged and searched (including detect magic and other spells). Although the post is far from Shou Lung, the guards consider their assignment here a special honor. They are some of the most trusted of the Emperor’s men. They serve for one year or less. During their service their loyalty is carefully monitored by the Imperial Censors. There is a chance the guards might mistake player characters for

The Valley of Exiles: This valley is not so far into the mountains that It is impossible to reach; difficult, perhaps, but not impossible. The entrance to the valley is guarded by a pair of stone forts that effectively block the northern, pass into the valley. Each fort is manned by 100 soldiers led by an 8th or 9th level samurai (q.v. Oriental Adventures), These guards are members of the Imperial Guard of Shou Lung, Their duty is first to see that no one leaves the valley, In addition, they discourage people from entering. Anyone who does enter is not allowed to leave unless he has presented a special pass from the Emperor of Shou Lung. The reason for all these special precautions is obvious from the name of the place. The valley is


the Jade Throne. While in the valley he has been diligently learning names of contacts and resources on the outside who might be useful to him. The remaining prisoners are unfortunates who have incurred the wrath of the Emperor for one act or another. Many are innocent of any crime, but have been exiled through the manipulations of rivals. Others are embarrassments to the empire, removed from sight and hopefully forgotten. A few are old-timers, their existence and crimes long forgotten by the imperial court. The Valley of Dog-Men: Located near the Valley of Exiles, but deeper in the mountains, this valley is home to a thriving colony of gnolls. Unique to the region, their ancestors were originally summoned by a wizard to defend his home. The wizard has long since died, but the gnolls have remained and bred. They now have a sizeable colony in the valley, 389 in all. Called “dog-men” by the few natives who have encountered them, the gnolls are the source of many interesting legends and folklore. At first, descriptions from travelers told of dog-headed humans of brutal savagery. Later legends added the claim that the women were beautiful and the men animal savages. Naturally, rumors of fabulous treasures were fit to these tales. By now, the gnolls are described as living in a marvelous valley of riches where the women are enslaved by hideous dog-faced men. Of course, those who have seen the gnolls would hardly agree. The gnolls are only now beginning to expand beyond the borders of their valley. Several patrols have ventured afield, searching for new territories to conquer. A few deserted valleys have been found, and one patrol blundered into the Valley of Exiles. This one was attacked but survivors have returned to the gnoll village with their reports. The chieftain of the gnolls intends to mount a raid on the exiles sometime soon.

censors in disguise, if the characters have come from Shou Lung. At the end of their year of service, these soldiers are usually rewarded with prestigious posts elsewhere. Currently in the valley are 20 prisoners. Of these, only three are important. The first is Su Po, a poet and scholar. Hardly a physical threat to the Emperor, Su Po is a member of the Society of the Purple Lotus, dedicated to the destruction of the Mandarinate. Arrested for writing persuasive arguments against the bureaucracy and the Emperor, Su Po was found guilty of crimes against the state. Since he is a distant relative of the Emperor, he was not executed, but sent into permanent exile instead. All his writings have been banned and ordered destroyed by the Emperor. As a result, Su Po has become a popular hero to the dissatisfied intellectuals of Shou Lung. Should he return, many of them would rally to his side, creating a significant threat to the Emperor. The second man is General Chen. Twenty years ago he attempted to overthrow the Emperor and place himself on the throne. The coup almost led to a civil war between north and south Shou Lung. Chen was captured, but the Emperor’s soothsayers advised against his execution. According to their spells, his spirit would return for revenge if the Emperor had him killed. Consequently, he has been exiled for life to this valley. Chen is an 18th level bushi. Finally, there is Prince Sung. He has been imprisoned for attempting to elope with one of the Emperor’s concubines. A favorite of the Emperor, Prince Sung was spared execution for his audacious act. He has been exiled for five years. However, since entering the valley he has heard many of the complaints (valid or not) against the Emperor and has secretly determined to overthrow the Master of

The Valley of the Shan Sao: Isolated from the other two valleys is a small, heavily forested homeland of the shan sao. This valley is one of the strongholds of this mysterious race. There are approximately 300 shan sao living in the valley, divided between 15 different settlements. Although not aggressive, these creatures do not like intruders and will harry travelers passing through their lands. 72

In addition to the shan sao, this valley also has a high proportion of tigers, including the rare and valuable white tigers. These beasts live in peace with the shan sao (who are their allies). The valley is famous for the quality of the tiger pelts that can be taken there. These pelts commonly fetch five to ten times the normal price for tiger skins. The location of the valley is known to a few hunters, and is considered a prized family secret. Of course, bringing the tiger pelts back is no simple hunt. The alliance between the shan sao and the tigers (along with the great number of tigers to be found), makes these tiger hunts particularly dangerous.

gorge, but this was broken for many years, an has only recently been repaired. Kushk was an outpost of Ra-Khati, the most important trading city of that land. Its design reflects the obsessive paranoia of its builders, who fear contact with the outside world. Kushk was built in a way that kept the Ra-Khatians isolated while still allowing them to deal with foreign merchants. The city was divided into three sections. Only

Kushk Also known as the Deserted City of Kushk or Purple Kushk, this magnificent ruin rests at the base of Mount Kus on the western brink of the Jumpa River Gorge where the Old Iron Road crosses the chasm. Once the route was connected by the Great Chainbridge that spanned the


a simple structure of red stone. The Tower of Harmony was the abode of the high lama of Bimasara, the place of perfect enlightenment. To reach the tower, a priest had to undergo a series of dangerous tests in the tunnels of the mountain. Only those wise in the ways of the temple were supposed to reach the top. Furthermore, each road led to a different floor of the Tower. A priest could only reach the high lama by correctly mastering all the tests of the Holy Mountain. Kushk and the Holy Mountain have been abandoned for many years. The city was destroyed by the armies of Solon during the War of the Purple Dragon. Kushk was laid waste by Gaumahavi, the Purple Dragon. Now the city is empty, slowly crumbling into ruins under a thick layer of purple dust. Kushk may be abandoned but it is not uninhabited. Evil creatures, gaki (see the Monstrous Compendium Oriental Adventures Appendix), have diligently tunneled beneath the city and mountain. These ravenous creatures have given rise to many recent stories about Kushk, particularly stories of how an army of evil creatures is reclaiming it. During the early part of the Horde invasions, a small contingent of the barbarian army was sent toward Kushk and Ra-Khati to scout out and possibly conquer these lands. While investigating Kushk, many scouting patrols came to horrible ends at the hands, of the gaki. Ultimately the Horde forces bypassed Kushk in favor of less dangerous and richer lands to the north.

the side closest the Jumpa River was for Ra-Khati. merchants. They entered Kushk through a small gate on the eastern side. Entering through the larger, western gate were the foreign caravans. These merchants stayed in the second section of the city. Living in the third section were the “unclean” priests of Bimasara, the Padhrasattva of Barter. They lived in buildings nestled at the base of Mount Kus. Each section of the city was enclosed by its own walls with further walls surrounding the entire city. In addition, the two merchant sectors were divided by a special arcade. This arcade, occupied by the priests, ensured the isolation of the traders. To trade goods in and out of Ra-Khati, the merchant presented his wares to the priests manning the stalls on his side of the arcade. The priests, acting as agents of the seller, took the goods to the other side of the arcade and sold them to the merchants of the other sector. This way the citizens of Ra-Khaki were spared contact with the outside world. Only the priests met with both natives and foreigners. As cumbersome as this system was, it worked well enough for the caravan trade. The priests, since they did nothing but buy and sell, quickly became skillful negotiators. The temple of Bimasara became quite wealthy since it claimed a small percentage of every sale. With this money, the priests built and maintained the fourth part of Kushk, the Holy Mountain of Kus, the temple of their faith. They bored a series of twelve tunnels into the mountain. These spiralled upward, finally emerging about halfway up the slope. From six of these tunnels continue six roads which spiral to the summit. At the top the roads meet at the Tower of Harmony,

Game Information: Further information on Kushk can be found in the adventure FRA1, Stormriders.

Kwachow Kwachow, or the City of Melons, is the largest settlement of the Merket Depression. It stands at the confluence of several dry streams. Kwachow gains its nickname from the large, sweet melons that are raised here. Much of the fruit is sent to Shou Lung where it is prized by gourmets for its fine flavor. The melons of Kwachow have even been served at the Emperor’s banquets. For all the splendor of its produce, Kwachow is a dusty, drab town. Rainfall is almost nonexistent 74

throughout most of the year. In the spring, the storms come and the dry streams flood. A series of levees and canals are used to divert the runoff into underground cisterns and holding ponds around the town. The trapped water is then carefully rationed for personal use and irrigation of the melon fields. In times of water shortages, the fields take precedence over the people. Kwachow has a population of 3,000. Since the town is difficult to reach and has little to offer, there is not much threat of attack. A large blockhouse stands at the center of the town; it doubles as the yamen, or official residence, of the Shou administrator posted here. Although the town is outside the accepted borders of Shou Lung, the empire has placed Kwachow under its sway. It has sent a magistrate, his bailiffs, and a small garrison of troops— 100 men— to keep the peace. While the citizens of Kwachow appreciate the protection the garrison provides from marauding bandits, they are not so thrilled by other aspects of the Shou presence. The magistrate, Wan-yen Ch’eng-shih, is a lackadaisical man with little ambition or sympathy for his subjects. To provide his barren post with the luxuries of the Inner Provinces (the heartland of Shou Lung), he taxes the citizens heavily. The soldiers of the garrison bully the citizens, although they stop short of actual violence. So far, residents of Kwachow have viewed the Shou lords as the lesser of two evils, potential bandits being far worse.


Living off the lumber trade are many fine carpenters and woodcarvers. These men make items for local use and also ship finished products abroad. Again, however, their work is not so unique as to make it valuable to collectors. Much of what they make is sold to the nomads. The settlements around the lake are mostly composed of Raumvira, a stocky, thick-bearded race. These people trace their ancestry back to the fall of the Raumathar Empire, although the nomads who surround the lake have had their effect, too. The Raumvira have not formed into a single country, but the towns generally support each other in a loose confederation. Government and titles are much the same from one to the other. These all follow the pattern set by Almorel, the largest of the Raumvira settlements. Generally, the head of a settlement is the mechnik or sheriff. He is not the sole ruler, but heads the veche, the city council. Serving on the veche are the starosta, elders of the town. The veche hears cases and makes rulings in most matters. However, issues that affect a particular business must be presented to the appropriate guild or ulista. Matters relating to the fisheries are referred to the fishermen’s guild, the isad. The farmers are organized into the verv, and the lumbermen have formed the khod. Each guild has some power to approve or disapprove all judgements that affect it. If a case cannot be decided in the community (which is not uncommon when the issue involves the guilds), the mechnik and some of the starosta will journey to Almorel. There they present the case to the Gospoda Although the Gospoda has no authority outside Almorel, its decisions are traditionally considered binding.

Lake of Mists This body of water is the second largest freshwater lake in the Endless Waste. Fed by the heated waters from the Firepeaks and underground thermal springs, the water of the Lake of Mists is warmer than normal. The difference in temperature causes thick fogs and damp mists throughout most of the fall, winter, and spring. The Lake of Mists has always been a place of mystery. Once part of the mighty Raumathar Empire, the lake is still surrounded by settlements and ruins from that age. Most notable of these is Almorel. However, many of the other small settlements have burial mounds and ruined keeps that are shunned by the locals. Stranger still are the creatures rumored to be living in the lake, somewhere near the bottom of its immense depths. The settlements around the lake rely on the fishing and lumber industries for their trade. The lake is rich with sturgeon, salmon, and other fine game fish. The fishermen, in small boats of two to three men, go out every day to bring in their catch. Some is sold fresh, but most is dried, smoked, salted, or pickled and shipped toward Rashemen and Murghom. Smoked sturgeon and caviar from the lake are especially prized by the nobles of both courts. The lumbermen form the other backbone of the settlements. The small forests around the shores of the lake are filled with old oak, walnut, and pine. These are cut and then floated to the towns. Most of the lumber is taken to the small mills or carpenters and used locally. Some, particularly the walnut, is towed across the lake and floated down the Clearflow to Murghom or loaded on wagons at Almorel. However, because lumber is difficult to ship, only a little is sent this way.

Game Information: As noted, the Lake of Mists hides a number of mysteries. By far the best known of these are the creatures rumored to live in the lake. Tales describe anything from great serpents to evil spirits. Watery elves and pixies fall somewhere in-between. No one seems to agree on what, if anything, is actually found there. In fact, two different groups of creatures dwell in the lake, creating much of the confusion. Along the shore, in secluded bays, are several large colonies of nixies. These creatures are ex-

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tremely shy, avoiding contact with humans as much as possible. When they do encounter humans, they use their powers to confound the fishermen as much as possible. They have no love of the fishermen’s nets and will often destroy or foul the seines without being detected. The fishermen blame evil spirits and make offerings to placate them. The nixies find these offerings amusing and curious, which only incites them all the more. The second group of creatures dwells in the center of the lake and rarely ventures near the shore. This is a large colony of plesiosaurs. They prey on the large game, particularly sturgeon, found in the depths of the lake. Since their natural range is near the deepest parts at the center, they are seldom seen by fishermen. They must, however, come to the surface for air and so they have been sighted from time to time. The plesiosaurs have no interest in the boats of the fishermen and seldom bother these. However, they sometimes blunder into the nets cast by men. With their enormous strength, these are easily destroyed. More than once a boat has capsized when its netlines suddenly plunged into the depths. There have even been a few accounts of swimming sailors who were attacked by some huge creature. When a boat doesn’t return from the lake for whatever reason, it’s loss is invariably blamed on the mysterious lake monsters. While it is true the nixies and plesiosaurs may sink a few craft from time to time, far more of the accidents are due to bad sailors or bad luck.

At the base of Leopard Shan is the ruin of the Leopard Stupa, an old monastery. This monastery, founded by monks from Khazari, was once the westernmost outpost of the Path of Enlightenment. For several centuries the monks provided shelter to travelers along the caravan route. The place was finally abandoned during the war between Ra-Khati and Solon. No effort has been made to reclaim it since. The monastery is still used as a stopping place by travelers and so the ruins are in good repair. Thoughtful wayfarers leave caches of firewood and excess supplies for the next traveler. The ruins are relatively free of dangerous monsters, although bandits sometimes lurk in the region. Game Information: Useful nonfood supplies can be found hidden in the ruins of the monastery 25% of the time. Common items include old blankets, horseshoes, bags, flasks of oil, or clothes. Valuable goods, magical items, weapons, armor, and food are never cached here. In addition to supplies, there is a 25% chance the ruins are occupied. Use the table below to determine what is encountered.

Nixies: #Ap 20-80; AC 7; MV 6, SW 12; HD 1/2; THAC0 20; #AT 1; Dmg 1-4; SA charm, nets; MR 25%; AL N. Plesiosaur: #Ap 1-3; AC 7; MV 21; HD 20; THAC0 5; #AT 1; Dmg 3-12, flippers 2-12 each; AL N.

Leopard Shan Encounter Table

Leopard Shan

Die Roll 01-50 51-65 66-70 71-80 81-95 96-00

Standing at the eastern entrance to the Howling Gap, this mountain is a well-known landmark to caravan masters and nomads alike. The Leapard Shan stands prominently apart from the other mountains of its range. Indeed, “He’s gone east of the leopard,” is an old Sempharan expression describing a man who’s left the country, usually to avoid arrest. 77

Encounter Travelers Semphari caravan Shou caravan Bandits Nomads Other (use standard encounter tables)

mountain. On these they leave sacrifices of freshly butchered animals. Game Information: The mountain is the home of an evil spirit, a manggus (see Monstrous Compendium pages included with this set) named Quarasas. The creature lives in a palace at the very top of the mountain (21,300 feet). It intentionally terrorizes the locals, taking their sacrifices and occasionally one of their own. Over the decades it has grown powerful, but complacent. Still, it is watchful and wary of strangers, using its shape-changing powers to investigate any strangers that come to its mountain. Recently the manggus has decided it needs to raise a new generation of its kind. For its purposes, it is planning the take the fairest maiden it can find. Fortunately for the villagers, none so far have satisfied its taste. Should a fair stranger arrive in the area, the situation might suddenly change.

Leopard Shan is also known for its snow leopards. These, however, are only found well above the level of the ruins. Those climbing the heights have a 20% chance of encountering one or two hunting leopards. The creatures will attack only solitary or isolated individuals.

Mahamsaratsu Shan Mhahasaratsu Shan (Mountain of the Sweet-, Voiced Goddess) js located on the eastern edge of the A-Ling Shan. The mountain is revered by those living near it as the abode of a powerful evil spirit. According to superstition, the spirit appears during the great blizzards and lures men to horrible deaths. Her voice is supposed to be golden and irresistible, the “music of the mountain.” Those near the mountain live in great fear of this spirit. To keep themselves safe, they have built altars along all the paths that go near the

Manass Manass is the least of the Five Great Cities of Khazari. It is also known as the City of White Walls. It rests halfway up a small pass in the front range of the Katakoro Mountains. While the city itself is small, it is heavily fortified against the occasional barbarian invader. The fortifications of Manass were first laid down on the site of a small farming village by the Shou during the Kao dynasty, about 700 years


ago. Since that time, the fortress has been destroyed several times, each time to be rebuilt along the same lines as before. Because of the threat from foreign raiders, all inhabitants of Manass, rich or poor, dwell inside the safety of the walls. The ground outside the city is taken up by fields of millet and barley, with some irrigation provided by nearby streams. The city is laid out in a rough square, approximately a half-mile long on a side. The city still retains the layout set by the Shou geomancers. Streets run in straight lines to form a rectangular grid oriented to the points of the compass, The walls are 30 feet high, made of baked brick and stone plastered over with mud and whitewash. There are two main gates, the Jade Gate in the center of the east wall and the Stone Gate on the west side. Towers are spaced at regular intervals around the walls. At the center of the city is a large plaza known as the Boyla’s Court. On one side of this plaza is the palace of the governor. Opposite it as a temple of the Yellow Mountain Sect of Khazari. Buildings in Manass are made from unmortared stone, carefully stacked atop each other. The walls are then plastered with mud and whitewashed. The roofs are either flat terraces used for storage or are covered in yellow-brown tile. Streets are narrow and usually clogged with stacked goods—wood, baskets, jars, and looms. Most houses have balconies that overlook the street. Because of its position, Manass is an important,

trading center. The people are not noted for their arts or crafts, but have a reputation as cunning and occasionally unscrupulous merchants. From the steppe-folk, they buy cheese and wool, From Semphar come caravans of western exotic goods and copper. Some these goods stay in Khazari but most travel further on the Silk Road to Shou Lung. Shou Lung, in turn, sends silks, spices, grain, and wine to the west. The merchants of Manass manage to make a profit from all these transactions. Manass is one of the lesser gateways to the steppe and so there are some services and many interesting characters here. Aside from the merchants, there are occasional guides, caravan masters, outfitters, itinerant holy men, and bandits. As a result of the city’s trade and position, the prince of Khazari requires the citizens to maintain a militia here to garrison the walls. The mili-


name form the seemingly randomly- placed windows that are found all around it. These are of many different sizes and shapes. The curious windows are part of the lighthouse arrangement of the tower. The water off the coast is thick with treacherous shoals. The wrecked hulks of unfortunate ships rise out of the shallow water, making the area a ships’ graveyard. Built by the Raumathar Empire, the tower served as a lighthouse, warning ships of the dangerous shoals that lay just off this point. With the collapse of the Raumatharans, the tower has had many occupants. For a time it was a stronghold of a Raumatharan army remnant, battling against the evil horrors unleashed in the final war of Narfell and Raumathar. The defenders did not last long, but their stand has been popular with the bards of the coast ever since. For a long period afterward, the tower was empty, except for the occasional monster’s lair. Fear kept the nomads away. A few times it was inhabited by bandits, but their trade was poor so far from the traveled routes. The tower fell into disrepair, eventually becoming only a crumbled ruin. Three centuries ago, a group of nomads passing through the area was amazed to discover the tower standing intact once more, restored to the glory of the days of Raumathar. The nomads wisely decided not to investigate. They have carefully avoided the area ever since. Ships traveling along the coast have not been so lucky. At first, several were lured to their destruction by the lights from the top of the tower. Thinking the lighthouse had been put back in service, they inadvertently ran aground on the shoals. Word quickly spread, however, and shipmasters learned to avoid the light. Then came more insidious disasters. Thick fogs arising out of nowhere, pilots becoming disoriented and confused, mutinies, and elementals have all attacked ships. Only the greater fear of the deep waters of the Yal Tengri keeps ship captains from sailing past the tower at all.

tia is under the command of the governor of the city and supported by taxes paid by the merchants. When called out, the garrison is 5,000 men strong—2,000 infantry and 3,000 riders. Virtually every able-bodied male within the walks takes up arms when the full complement is mustered. While the majority are untrained soldiers, the core is formed of the governor’s bodyguard. The bodyguards wear leather or chain mail, depending on rank. A trooper’s uniform is a cotton robe, dyed blue and trimmed with red, and a pointed cap trimmed with a brilliant green plume. Officers wear bronze or gilt scale male with no outer robe. Standard weapons are short bows and staff-swords (glaives). Manass’s current governor is Sanjar al-Mulk, third cousin to Prince Ogandi. He is assisted in his duties by Manjusri, a dong chang from the Katakoro Shan. A pair of Shou Lung agents, members of the Royal Vagabonds, posing as merchants are also close to the governor. They keep a watchful eye over the loyalties of the governor and report all their findings back to the Shou Lung Emperor. Just prior to the invasion of Shou Lung, Manass was conquered by the Tuigan. Sanjar al- Mulk was taken as a hostage, Manjusri was declared an outlaw, and the Shou Lung agents were put to death. The garrison was destroyed in battle outside the walls, but the city was spared and placed under the command of Jadaran (Prince Jad), the son of Yamun Khahan.

Game Information: The new occupant of the Many-Windowed Tower is the lich, Demchungchumrub. Like those of his kind, he is a solitary creature. He has the powers of a 19th level conjurer. Currently, Demchungchumrub is using his

The Many-Windowed Tower This strange edifice stands on the shores of the Yal Tengri, deserted for many centuries. A slim round tower, six or seven stories high earns its 80

powers to assemble a crew to man his spelljamming ship. Following the reasoning of liches, he has been systematically wrecking ships to capture the sailors. Those who die, he animates. Those who survive are charmed to his will. Soon he will have the men he needs to sail his vessel, Delras, a converted great galley. (For more information on space flight, see the SPELLJAMMER™ Boxed set.) Demchungchumrub’s spells are normally suited to his work. The number of spells he has available and the spells he always has in his repertoire are given below. As a conjurer, he cannot cast Greater Divination or Invocation/Evocation spells.

Fifth Level (6)

Distance distortion Teleport Conjure elemental Domination (Any two)

First Level (6)

Audible Glamer Dancing lights Charm person Hypnotism Phantasmal force Unseen servant

Sixth Level (4)

Control weather (x2) Invisible stalker Mass suggestion

Second Level (6)

Seventh Level (4)

Darkness, 15’ radius Fog cloud Summon swarm Esp Hypnotic pattern (Any one)

Limited wish Power word, stun Control undead (Any one) Eighth Level (4)

Third Level (6)

Sink Power word, blind (Any two)

Gust of wind Phantom steed Suggestion Clairvoyance (Any two)

Ninth Level (2)

Wish (Any one)

Fourth Level (6)

Demchungchumrub: AC 0; MV 6; HD 11 +; hp 56; #AT 1; Dmg 1-10; SA fear, paralysis, spell immunities, + 1 weapon or better to hit; AL NE.

Solid fog Evard’s black tentacles Confusion Magic mirror Hallucinatory terrain (Any one)

Merket Oasis In the heart of the dry, rocky Quoya desert is a large valley, a depression that sits below sea level. This area is known as the Merket Depression or Merket Oasis. The depression is not green and lush, but most of the dry streams of the region drain into 81

it during the brief rains. The water stays underneath the surface, making the area richer in plant growth than the surrounding desert. Furthermore, at places like Kwachow, the rainwater is carefully stored in underground cisterns and used to irrigate fields. The depression is known throughout Shou Lung for its fine melons and vineyards. The grapes are dried into choice raisins or are made into a sweet wine popular at banquet tables. Some of the wine is sold to the nomads, but they do not have a strong desire for the drink. Because the depression produces some items of value, the area is under the watchful eye of Shou Lung. Being outside the limits of the Dragonwall has not prevented the Shou from posting an administrator and garrison at Kwachow. These guards are mostly concerned with collecting taxes and punishing the occasional bandit. In the face of serious threat from the nomads, they are likely to retreat behind the Dragonwall.

ties have prevented more than one explorer from reporting his find. The mountain is far from settied lands and traveled routes. Finally, a large population of gnolls live in the mountains of the region. They hold the mountain to be a powerful god and offer sacrifices to it. The preferred sacrifice is an enemy taken in battle, thus accounting for more curious adventurers. Even those who get back can seldom give accurate directions for finding the mountain again. Of course, all these failures and hazards have not discouraged adventurers from trying, particularly dwarves. This is especially true of the Siremun of the Firepeaks, who dwell closest to this region. It seems there is always one among them searching for the lost Mountain of Iron.

The Mountain of Iron Hidden in the far north, in the peaks of the Ulhai Shan, is the legendary Mountain of Iron. It has only a small place in human stories. Most people believe the mountain is a myth, a fanciful tale to embellish the epics of heroes. it figures prominently in dwarven legends, and they do not treat it as a myth. For them, the Mountain of Iron is a long lost treasure, one of the great natural wonders of the world. The Mountain of Iron is a low, rugged peak, unspectacular when seen from a distance. Many travelers have seen it on the horizon and failed to recognize it for the wonder it truly is. Trees grow on its slopes and snow blankets it in wintertime. in short, it looks like any other mountain. However, those who come within a mile of its slopes know it is much more than an ordinary peak. The Mountain of Iron contains a tremendous concentration of natural lodestone. It has enormous magnetic properties. According to the legends, weapons are pulled from men’s grasp, horseshoes torn from hooves, and armored men are even dragged across the ground. Bones encased in rusty armor, lone adventurers pinned to the ground, dot the slopes. The mountain’s location has remained a mystery for a number of reasons. Its peculiar proper-

Game Information: The magnetic properties of the Mountain of Iron have differing effects at different distances from the peak. Approximately 100 miles from the mountain, compasses (if there are any in the group) begin to point toward the mountain. (Be sure to check the map when this happens, because the general direction may still be north for the characters.) Ten miles from the peak, any character possessing an innate sense of direction (ability to know direction, etc.) will become confused, mistaking the peak for north. Two miles from the peak, characters notice a definite pull on all items which contain iron. Those that are sword-sized or smaller will creep slowly across level ground if left untended or not anchored. At one mile, characters carrying iron or steel items or wearing armor made of the same must make a Strength check every turn. Characters


on the journey to the peak. Unfortunately, the dwarves are a mixed bag of sages, neer-do-wells, and thieves, with not a single valiant warrior among them. Naturally, Philoster and his companions are looking for guides and guards to accompany them on their way, but, since dwarves are naturally suspicious, they refuse to divulge the true purpose or route of their party. If the party itself were not bad enough, the dwarves do not understand the true properties of the Mountain of Iron. They are going prepared to open a mine, armed with pickaxes, shovels, and lots of other handy steel tools. And, of course, they won’t say why they are carrying all this gear. This is the group that the player characters can guide across the Endless Waste. Don’t forget that dwarves are poor, if not incompetent, horsemen.

who fail the check have their weapons torn from their grasp or are dragged in their armor across the ground. Those items not fastened securely will be pulled through the air toward the mountain. Large objects (people and the like) move 30 feet per round. Small objects accelerate 30 feet per round (30 feet, 60 feet, 90 feet, etc.) to a maximum of 990 feet per round (approximately 11 mph). At one-half mile, all characters must make a Strength check as given above, but at half their normal Strength, Those who fail are dragged across the ground, accelerating each round by 30 feet, as explained above. Upon reaching the Mountain of Iron, all ironbased items are stuck fast. Only exceptional Strength (18 +) can wrench an item free. Normal strength checks are then needed to hang on to the item or remain on one’s feet. Note that characters trapped in metal armor can easily be freed by others, provided they are not using iron or steel tools and they are willing to abandon the armor. The gnolls around the mountain have long ago adapted to the strange conditions of the peak. They use only wood, stone, and bone weapons (-1 damage on all cutting weapons). They wear armor woven from bark and cured leathers and use leather shields. If attacked by enemies using metal weapons and armor, the gnolls try to lure their opponents close to the peak, effectively turning the metal to a disadvantage.

Mountains of Copper This small group of mountains marks the northern border of Murghom. The mountains gain their name from the rich veins of copper ore that run beneath them. Over the centuries, hundreds of mines have been sunk into the region. At first the mining was relatively simple, but now miners must delve deeper and deeper underground. Some shafts run for miles, branching into hundreds of confusing galleries, even occasionally breaking into older, abandoned shafts. The intense mining has left its mark on the region in many different ways. In addition to the hundred or so active mines, there are at least a hundred more abandoned shafts. No effort has ever been made to map the locations of these or their courses underground. These mines are in dangerous states of decay, prone to collapse. The deepest mines have become the abodes of creatures from the underdark, some of whom even expand the tunnels further. Closer to the surface, goblins, orcs, and their kin have settled in the shafts. Bandits and brigands sometimes claim a shaft as their hideout. The intense and reckless mining has scarred the land. Near each mine is a slag heap. These and the closed shafts leach deadly chemicals into the water. Many streams run copper-red and are unfit to drink. Entire slopes have been deforested to fuel the smelters. The forges belch clouds of black smoke into the air.

Adventure Idea: Philoster Rock-hard, a scholar and dreamer of the Siremun, believes he has discovered the location of the lost Mountain of Iron. He has convinced eight of his fellow dwarves, dreamers and scalawags all, to join him


The towns and settlements of the mountains reflect their grim landscape. They are squat and ugly, caked in dirt and soot, hiding behind stockades and stone wails. Most often, the minehead is at the center of the town, surrounded by the hammer mills and smelters. The homes and shops huddle around the outside of these, the people living amidst the smoke and odor of the mines. Few venture outside the walls of their towns without good reason. The region is rich with monsters who prey on the hapless miners and is attractive to bandits who swoop down on the merchant caravans and payrolls. Murghom is too poorly administered to prevent this. The best it can manage is to send heavily armed guards to patrol the few highroads that enter the mining district. Once into the mountains, the arm of the law is limited to the largest towns. In most places, it is the miner’s guild that rules.

of this tactic and take steps to prevent it. Most of the shrines are magically protected and sometimes trapped with clever spell protections. The temples are also quite willing to hire mercenaries to protect their shrines. One of these job offers is made to the player characters. They are to reach the shrine with all haste, protect it from harm, and, if possible prevent the hired thugs from striking again. If this seems too easy for the characters, add one additional requirement. The characters are not allowed to kill or injure their enemies. They must find ways to defeat the mercenaries without causing any harm. If the characters fail to do this, the shrine will be desecrated by their deeds (and they won’t get paid). To make sure the rules are followed, a priest of the temple is assigned to observe and report on the party’s actions.

Muren Khi The Muren Khi is the lower reaches of the Muren Tso, where it drains from Nor Yudol. The name Muren Khi means River of Earth. The river’s name changes because the water becomes a turgid, brown flow, loaded with silt, upon leaving the lake. At this point the water of the Muren Khi is believed to have healing properties, now purged of the poisons that supposedly infect the Muren Tso. Game Information: By itself, the water of the Muren Khi has no special healing property. However, if correctly gathered (with appropriate prayers), the water becomes an important ingredient in healing potions produced by local priests. To this end, several small shrines have been built along the banks of the river. Each shrine belongs to a different temple. There is a 5% chance that a group of priests will be at a shrine, having come to gather the water of the river.

Muren Tso This is the upper portion of the Muren Khi, before it drains into Yudoi Nor. Here the water flows sparkling clear and fresh-looking. However, the water is bitter and mildly poisonous. It contains minerals that are not neutralized until mingled with the silt of Yudoi Nor. The properties of this water are well-known to the local nomads, so well-known, in fact, that they usually forget to mention the fact to travelers.

Adventure Idea: Rival temples have been known to hire willing hands to desecrate the shrines of their rivals. (Tradition keeps them from doing the job themselves.) This not only causes a loss of face to their enemies, but prevents those enemies from gathering the healing water until a purification ceremony can be performed. Of course, feuding temples are perfectly aware

Game Information: The poisonous property of the water is mildly debilitating. The onset time is one to two hours after drinking. Then the character must save vs. poison. Those that make the save suffer stomach cramps and nausea and have their Strength and Constitution halved for the


Nas Trango Shan Named “North Guardian Peak,” this mountain is the companion to Ahs Trango Shan at the mouth of the Repo La. The mountain stands 15,700 feet high. The slopes are barren and windswept, providing a good view of the fortress on the southern peak.

Nathoud This fortified town is one of the few permanent settlements of the Nar people. The town was built and is still occupied by the Myir, an offshoot tribe of the main Nar nation. Living outside the borders of Narfell, the Myir have changed and adapted to the pressures of their new homeland. The greatest of these pressures have come from their nomadic neighbors, the Khassadi. Unable to match the horsemen for ferocity, the Myir have given up their semi-nomadic ways and become settled farmers. In this, they have learned much from the Rashemeni and Raumvira, who have settlements scattered throughout the area. After only a few hundred years, the Myir still have much to learn and are poor in both cash and technology. Their only asset is their skill in horse-breeding. Descendants of a horse people and in frequent contact with nomadic horsemen, the Myir have excelled in this area. They have created an exceptional bloodline of horses, the Nathoudi stallion. These horses are noted for their stamina and endurance, particularly to cold weather and snow. The town of Nathoud is built almost entirely of wood. Masonry and stone-cutting are littleknown arts among the Myir. Houses are similar to those of the Raumvira. They stand one or two stories high, built of heavy logs. Windows and doors are small. The roofs are gently sloped and have large, overhanging eaves. Most of the roofs are covered in sod. Wood carving is a widely practiced art. Lintels, door posts, doors, and shutters are often carved and painted. The horse is the most common theme of these carvings. Each fall, the Myir hold a great horse fair. At it, breeders, nomads, and horse traders from throughout the region gather to show their stock. The fair lasts for 10 days. Anyone selling a horse must apply to the town council for a license. Each day the council announces the auctions and chal-

next 12 hours. Those that fail to save have their Strength and Constitution reduced to 3 for 24 hours. Furthermore, they are wracked by intense stomach cramps and muscle pains.

Nanhu Oasis Properly speaking, this is not an oasis but a small, reedy lake. Nanhu means South Lake in the language of the nomads. Because wells are widely scattered in this region, Nanhu is an important watering place for the nomads and the few caravans that go by the northern route through the Fergana pass. Nanhu is a small lake, very shallow and choked with reeds. During summers, it occasionally dries up, leaving nothing but crusted mud on the surface. The nomads know that by digging beneath the surface, they can usually find water. Because of its erratic water supply, however, no one has settled near the lake. Game Information: During summertime there, is a 25% chance the lake will be dry, unless there has been a recent rain. If the surface is dry, a second check (also 25%) should be made to see if the water table under the crust has also drained away. Otherwise, characters who dig will be able to find enough muddy water for themselves and their mounts. The oasis is also the home of an ubbe (see the Monstrous Compendium entry included with this set). During times when the lake is dry, the ubbe hibernates in the mud below the surface. The creature releases its captives at this time, thus this ubbe is not considered as evil or vicious as others.


people or their country. Foreign visitors are discouraged and those that do come are confined inside the walls of the city. They report that the people are slender, pale and icy blond, given to dressing entirely in white. They speak a language unfamiliar to outsiders and share little information about their lives or beliefs. Naupau maintains a sizeable trading fleet and has established some outposts along the coast of the Yal Tengri. It is suspected their captains know some secret route through the northern ice pack and into the seas beyond. There are even tales of strange ships of pale, white-robed men appearing in the far ports of Calimshan.

lenge races for the day. These races are more than just issues of pride, since the price of a champion (and all his blood stock) increases with each victory. In addition to the auctions and races, the dealers will trade studs for a season, trainers peddle their services, bards provide entertainment, and thieves, of course, line their pockets. All of these activities and more ensure that the fair is one of the most popular events of the region.

Neachal Fountain This is a prominent landmark on the Old iron Road. The Neachal Fountain is a large geyser with irregular but frequent eruptions. The plume marks the edge of a small thermal basin south of the track. Caravans carefully skirt this area, since the basin is filled with hidden dangers. In addition to the obvious hot springs and mud pits, there are others that are covered by thin crusts of solid-looking ground. Among the natives, it believed the Neachal Fountain is one of the “nostrils of the earth god.” Therefore the place is holy. The mineral-laced waters taken from here are an important ingredient in potions to remove curses.

Game Information: In addition to the many fine breeds of horses brought to the Nathoud fair (from as far as Semphar), there is a small chance of finding more exotic mounts. Each day of the fair, there is a 10% chance that an unusual steed will be offered for sale. If one is, either choose one or consult the table below. These animals are never bargains, since the auctions on them are hot and heavy. Die Roll

2-5 6-9 6-9 10

Game Information: Those who insist on traveling off the trail through the thermal basin are placing themselves at great risk, unless they have an experienced guide. There are not many such guides and they are expensive to hire. Such men easily command 10 to 20 times the price of a normal guide. If characters travel without a guide, there is a 20% chance per four hours of travel of some type of mishap. Initially, these accidents should be minor, to warn the characters of the foolish risk they are taking. A character may scald his toes just as he steps through the crust of a hidden pool or his horse may be burned by a burst of boiling mud. Further hazards after that should be appropriate to the caution and respect shown by the group. Characters who ignore these dangers or dismiss them should suffer a serious accident. Characters who gain a


Asperii Pegasus Hippogriff Griffon *

* Because these creatures savor horseflesh, they must be carefully watched and hobbled at all times during the fair. in addition, the council of Nathoud assess a special bond of 1,000 gp on merchants and owners of these creatures.

Naupau This is the only known trade city of Sossal, home of the Sossarhim. Little is known of these 88

renewed respect for the land should be able to avoid the worst hazards.

Ni-Ko Oasis Although it is a lush, green copse and has a charming-sounding name, Ni-Ko translates as “Mud Pit Hollow,” an apt description for this treacherous sump. The Ni-Ko Oasis is not a blue, shining pool, but a thick tract of bogs and fens. Here water rises up from the surface to turn the soil into a quagmire. Trees and bushes grow thickly with stretches of marshy bog in between. Still, the bog is inhabited. A small tribe of korobokuru lives here, safely protected from the nomad horsemen by the swampy ground. These curious little men (see Oriental Adventures) for the most part live hidden away in the thick brush and trees. From time to time, however, small knots of them appear to trade with merchants, share stories, and learn the news of the world. A few have even been known to join caravans bound for distant parts of the world. Traditionally, the oasis is considered the boundary between East and West. To the west are Almorel, Rashemen, and Narfell. To the east is Shou Lung. Even the caravan route changes name here, from the Golden Way to the Spice Road. Caravan masters regard the oasis as a halfway point of their journey.

wealth and power. The least have simple graves, the greatest are provided with burial mounds. While most of these tombs are found in the Ejen Horo, their locations carefully concealed, others can be found throughout the steppe. Whatever the status, there are some features these tombs have in common. A noble is never buried alone, but is always interred with at least some of his most valuable possessions. These are things he may need in his next life. (Most of the tribes believe in reincarnation.) There will always be a bow, arrows, a quiver, and a sword. if his wealth permits, the corpse may also have armor and finery. it is not uncommon for the dead man’s favorite horse to be slain and buried with him. it would naturally have a complete saddle and bridle. Only the darkest and most evil tribes still kill servants and guards to accompany the dead nobleman into his next life. If possible, the tomb is built into the face of a cliff, near the top. This discourages many robbers and wild animals. It is also a sign of great respect to the dead. If a cliff site is not available, the body is buried at the top of a hill. The corpse is always placed sitting up, surrounded by his possessions. Magical protections and curses against grave robbers are then placed on the tomb. Everything is buried and covered up. No marker is placed to show the location of the grave. The nomads use their amazing memory for landmarks to note the location of the burial. If the grave is a valuable one, with many treasures, much of the work will be done by slaves, prisoners, or criminals. These workers are then killed when the job is finished. That way, only a few faithful retainers or family members will know the true location of the grave.

Game Information: Although there is a caravan road through the oasis, travel is difficult at best. Animals sink in mud, sometimes up to their bellies. Wagons and carts can disappear in mud over their axles. The only solution is to use muscle power or magical spells. (For example, a reversed transmute rock to mud is effective for a short period of time,) indeed, so difficult is this part of the journey, some caravan masters avoid the oasis entirely, risking death by thirst later on. When moving through the oasis area, use the swamp movement rate instead of normal forest rate.

Noble Tombs Most people of the steppe are given simple wind burials, their bodies left on platforms exposed to the elements. However, this is not fitting for the khans, the upper class of the tribes. These warriors are buried in tombs appropriate to their 8 9

important of ail these are the oboos, altars to the gods of sky and earth. An oboo is a simple looking thing. It is always built on the top of a hill. Usually this is the highest in the area, although other hills are chosen. The decision is based on the holiness of the hill. While tail hills are holy, they may not be as powerful as a hill where a khan won a great battle or another noted for its exceptional spring flowers. Whatever the reason for selecting the hill, an oboo is then built on top of it. It may be nothing more than a single cairn of stones, piled to mark the altar. The most elaborate are made from carefully selected boulders, dragged into place and set in a pattern at the very top of the hill. The stones may or may not be carved. The majority are left in their natural state. Oboos are holy sites to the nomads. They are used by the shamans and lamas for important ceremonies or when commune type spells are cast. The power of the oboo increases the effectiveness and potency of these spells. Because they are sacred, the nomads treat the oboos with great respect. Different tribes may share a single oboo at different times of the year. Even if they do not, the tribes generally respect each other’s territory. Polluting or desecrating an oboo is only rarely done, mainly to insult one’s sworn enemy. Even then, the tribesmen believe they risk the wrath of the gods by doing so.

The greatest of all tombs is said to be that of Hun-kho, the great war chief of the Kalmyr. Contrary to tradition, he was not buried in the Ejen Horo, but had his tomb dug somewhere on the steppe. All who knew its location were killed or died, taking the secret with them. It is certain to contain great treasures, for Hun-kho was the greatest conqueror of the land, driving even as far as the Dragonwall.

Nor Yudol “The Churned One” is another name for this large lake of the Katakoro Plateau. It is named for the thick mud that rises up from the bottom, giving the water a milky-brown color. This mud is responsible for changing the poisonous water of the Muren Tso into the sacred water of the Muren Khi. Foul water enters from the western end of the lake, to leave purified and fortified at the eastern end. The lake is similarly divided. Those who drink from the western end suffer the same poisonous results as if they had. drunk the water of the Muren Tso. Fish are rare here and are often stunted, vicious creatures. Toward the middle of the lake, the water is normal. Fish are still scarce, but few are misshapen. Most of the aquatic life stays near the eastern end, swimming in the strengthening bath of minerals. Here the fish are always healthy and good-sized. Fishermen who work these waters are always careful to thank the earth goddess for their bountiful catch.

Game Information: The oboos are indeed special sites where the powers of the gods are more keenly felt and displayed. At an oboo, a priest character can sense the closer contact to great powers, even if they are outside his own beliefs. Characters who follow the beliefs of the nomads will know whether the gods are pleased or displeased with their presence at the oboo. If a priest of a sky or earth god spends the night at an oboo, he can choose one extra spell to cast the next day (provided he is eligible to cast the spell at all). If he sleeps there for a night while seeking the answer to some question, there is a 50% chance some answer or guidance will come to him in a dream. Wounded followers (whether priest or layman) will heal at twice the normal rate if they rest within 100 feet of the oboo. Lesser spirits and evil undead cannot come within 100 feet of an oboo, unless the god

Oboos Although the nomads have no fixed homes, they do leave some marks on the land. The most 90

chooses to allow it. Greater spirits must make a successful saving throw vs. death before they can enter this radius. Priests of different beliefs are tormented if they dare to spend the night at an oboo. Their sleep is restless, filled with nightmares and apprehension. Such characters will not be able to regain spells the next day for lack of soothing rest. The wounds of enemies will not heal so long as they remain within 100 feet of the oboo. Oboos can be desecrated by the destruction of the stones—tipping them over, breaking them, etc. — or by contamination of the ground. The latter occurs if some act offensive to the god is committed within the radius—the murder of a shaman or faithful is the most likely. The blasphemer risks the immediate retribution of the god. (This should be decided by the DM whenever possible, with about a 1% chance otherwise). Retribution normally takes the form of a lightning bolt or series of lightning bolts sent to strike down the offender. These do not go to the largest concentration of metal; they specifically strike the villain or villains who have committed the deed.

Panjuis has not been occupied by the pixies for almost 50 years. With the death of Teremon, the pixie nation gradually fragmented, more from disinterest than any other reason. For a long time, the pixies lived in Panjuis, using it simply as a home. Without Teremon’s control and farsighted guidance, however, the disciplined maintenance of the fortress collapsed. The great trees were allowed to grow as they pleased, the sentry posts were abandoned, and the storerooms left empty. Covetous eyes looked to the crumbling fortress. Small probing attacks were made, only to be beaten back by the pixies. Eventually, the little fairies grew tired of defending their home, bored with the constant struggle. Slowly they filtered away, lured off by prospects of new wonders and curiosities in other lands. The few pixies that remained were easily overwhelmed. Panjuis is now inhabited by a large tribe of bakemono (see Oriental Adventures Monstrous Compendium). These creatures, in all their bizarre forms, have haphazardly rebuilt and fortified the fortress, repairing defenses and adding new ones only after weaknesses are exposed by outside attacks. Their leader is Choin the Blue-Nosed, a scrawny creature with an oversized head and an enormous blue nose. Under his nominal command are 239 unruly and bloodthirsty bakemono.

Panjuis Located deep in the forests of the Ama Basin is the strange ruin of Panjuis, the Pixie Fortress. To all but a few guides, its existence is a myth told to children. However, Panjuis is real. Panjuis is no ordinary castle, but no one would expect an ordinary castle from the pixies. Built, or rather “grown,” hundreds of years ago, Panjuis was once the stronghold of Teremon, King of the Pixies, but that was a long time ago. With his passing (for even pixies eventually die), the fortress slowly slid into disuse, then decay, and finally abomination. It is no longer the wonder of fairyland that it once was. Panjuis is a living castle, formed from three giant trees. At its base, each trunk has a diameter of 40 feet. Growing upward to a height of 200 feet, the trees twist, branch, and coil to form the rooms, stairs, halls, chambers, balconies, and towers of Panjuis. The passages are grand and spacious, for even though the pixies were small, they enjoyed open space. Besides, they never knew when, on a whim, they might kidnap some stranger and bring him to Panjuis.

Game Information: The bakemono are not the only creatures in the region. There are still a few bands of pixies found in the forests. These creatures sometimes make raids on the fortress to harass and terrify the bakemono. On occasion they return with a purpose, hoping to recover some long-lost treasure.


sure hoard are many valuable-looking items that are actually worthless. There are also worthlessseeming items of great value to be found.

Phannaskul Phannaskul the Iron is the second-largest city of Murghom. Sitting on the banks of the Rauthenflow, it could control the trade through this important waterway, were it not for the impotence of its king and the power of foreign influences in the land. Phannaskul is so named for its grim and dour fortifications. It is an unlovely city, with squat, joyless buildings huddled together behind a slate-gray stone wall. The emir’s keep dominates the riverbank and casts a shadow over the rest of the city. That, and the thick pall of smoke that hangs in the sky, leave little to bring laughter or humor to the citizens. Phannaskui is administered by Emir Tarman the Old, a half-senile warrior. Tarman thinks only of the glory of his younger days and does little to administer the city. The true power rests in the hands of the merchant guilds. These are dominated by men from Semphar and Mulhorand. Neither country has any interest in seeing Phannaskui become powerful. Through bribes and special privileges, they keep the local officials happy and out of the way. Recently there has been a growing unrest among the poor citizens of the town. A leader has risen among them, decrying the corruption and villainy of the nobles. He is Hatim the Righteous, a paladin of Murghomi descent. His rabblerousing is proving to be effective among the poor. The merchant houses have taken notice of his activities. They are looking for someone who can provide them with a solution to their problem.

Also living in the region are several goblin spiders (see Oriental Adventures Monstrous Compendium). These creatures prey on the bakemono, since the pixies are too clever to be caught by their simple traps. A few of the spiders have even made lairs in the deserted parts of the fortress. In addition to all these creatures the fortress has proven to be a magnet to evil monsters of all types. The greater-than-normal population of these creatures has given the region a deservedly evil reputation. The chance for an encounter anywhere within 10 miles of Panjuis is increased by one. Adventure Idea: While visiting one of the oases or towns near the Ama Basin, the player characters are secretly contacted by a most unusual employer. An aged pixie is seeking a bold group of heroes to go to the legendary fortress of Panjuis to recover a great family treasure. The treasure is a bejeweled butterfly of great beauty and workmanship. The pixie cannot pay the characters or promise any reward beyond a few pixie arrows or a choice item from his clan’s hoard. Although the old pixie is sincere, he is still a pixie. it is doubtful he could tell the complete truth or resist a little mischief no matter how much he wanted to. The great family treasure he seeks (which he provides a precise description of) is a real butterfly, not a piece of jewelry. It is bejeweled with the gems of nature. The insect is found only at Panjuis. Second, the pixie will do what he can to deny the characters their reward should they succeed. He will contest the terms, offer magnificent but ultimately worthless alternatives, and try to trick them into renouncing their claim. If all these things fail, only then will he allow them to choose. Of course, in the trea-

Phelzel Phelzel is the second city of Semphar, about half the size of Dhaztanar. Nonetheless, it is an important trade rival of the capital. Phelzel’s greatest trading good is lumber brought down from the Shalhoond. Here the logs are finished and shipped to other towns and cities of the Gbor Nor. Because of its lumber industry, Phelzel is also 92

an important ship-building center. Many of the small fishing boats that ply the Gbor Nor are built here, along with larger merchant ships. There is a saying that best describes Phelzel: “In Dhaztanar a man can buy any goods for the right price, but in Phelzel any man can be bought for the right price.” Although Phelzel putatively follows Muhjari law, the ordinances here are poorly enforced. Wine shops, while banned, are winked at, along with a host of other vices— provided these businesses pay their “fees” and do not get out of hand. The governor of Phelzel and most of the officials live quite well, certainly beyond the means of their official salaries. Because of this attitude, Phelzel has more than its share of thieves’ dens and guilds. Many of the conmen, footpads, and bawdymen, finding Dhaztanar too rigid and unprofitable, have moved their operations to Phelzel Operating behind thinly disguised fronts, many of the Phelzel thieves’ guilds spread their influence throughout the cities and large towns of Semphar. With the preponderance of thieves come other characters. The thieves hire mercenaries to protect their interests. Wizards are useful for their spells. The mercenaries find priests necessary to stay alive. Furthermore, there is the additional lure of Bhaluin, the Drowned City, just a stone’s throw across the water. There is always work for any skilled adventurer in Phelzel.

evil luck to kill one of the birds. Any character who does suffers a -1 on his THAC0 and saving throw rolls. This lasts until a remove curse spell is cast on the unfortunate person.

Plains of Purple Dust This is a famous region of the Raurin Desert, so named for its colorful geography. The Plains of Purple Dust are not true plains, but a broken wasteland of sandy dunes and craggy, upthrust mounds. The softer, purplish stone has eroded away, leaving behind fine sand of a purple cast. Only the harder rock, ancient volcanic cones, still remains. These thrust up in craggy, straight-sided towers. The purple dunes pile around their base. It is in this desolate region that the Grinning Skull Oasis is found. The Plains of Purple Dust is famous for its monstrous population. The towers are popular breeding grounds with the desert dragons—copper and brass. Rocs are said to make their nests on the fiat tops of the towers. Rare purple sandlings dwell in the dunes.

Pigeon Rock Oasis This oasis takes its curious and charming name from the prosaic landmark that identifies it to travelers. Pigeon Rock is so named after an outcropping of rock used as a roost by flocks of wild pigeons. The rock is honeycombed with holes that the birds use as roosts. Aside from the rock and a small spring, there is precious little at Pigeon Rock. The spring is brackish and parches the mouth. The rock manages only to cast the smallest amount of shade. The dry air of the Quoya Desert and the burning sun make the stop here scorching. Indeed, so poor is this oasis that not even a single enterprising innkeeper has seen fit to build a small business here.

Pleasant Valley Gateway Oasis This long-named oasis is located at the southernmost end of the Glittering Spires (so named for their glaciated peaks). It is not so much an oasis as a small, green valley on the edge of the steppe. Glacier-fed streams run down into the valley and fill a small lake near its center. From the lake, water drains off underground. The Pleasant Valley has been settled by a small band of elves, who arrived many decades ago from the colder lands of Sossal. These elves, a dissident faction of those found in the north,

Game information: Although the pigeons of the oasis are numerous and fat, it is considered


feats Murghom suffered in the First and Second Great Reclamations—attempts by Murghom to conquer Semphar. His obsession is such that he ignores the proper governance of his kingdom in favor of fortifying his frontier and paying vast sums to mercenaries of questionable worth. Port Ghaast, with its forts and barracks, is the jewel of his military empire. Originally, the port was a small town for the trans-shipment of lumber from the Shalhoond. Logs floated downstream were loaded on ships in the small harbor. When the king attempted to invade Semphar, he choose Port Ghaast as his staging point. The wooden stockade was replaced by proper stone fortifications. New barracks were built for the army. Camp followers first built a shanty town and then expanded into a proper settlement. Now, Port Ghaast is a major military base of the Murghom army. Fortunately for Semphar, the Murghom army (mostly impressed peasants and mercenaries) isn’t very motivated or well-disciplined. Tharmakkas is much more adept at spending his kingdom’s treasury than at using it wisely. As a result, Port Ghaast is a rough and brawling town, just the type of place one would expect with 5,000 well-paid and idle mercenaries cooling their heels. Although Port Ghaast has a Muhjari majority the mercenaries openly flout Muhjari laws. Drinking, gambling, and wenching are common activities. There is little the citizens can hope to do against the mercenaries. Although the regular army enforces the peace, the mercenaries enjoy the special protection of the king. The citizens hate the mercenaries. They dislike the army, which they think is protecting the hired soldiers. The army views the mercenaries with contempt, as hired swords only good as cannon fodder. The mercenaries dislike both groups— the citizens are bleating sheep and leeches; the Murghom army, a lot of pompous and unprofessional fools. The mercenaries are a cynical bunch, who have few illusions about their own honor but who take great pride in their professionalism. The town is more or less divided into three districts. The mercenaries live in often squalid barracks outside the main walls. Their barracks are scattered far apart, a lesson learned after the Sell-Sword Rebellion 20 years ago. Dividing the

have fled their homeland to found their own utopian community. Here in the valley, they have struggled to achieve their goal. The Pleasant Valley elves want only peace and harmony, with nature and with their neighbors. Although they have a strong aversion to bloodshed for any reason, they are not pacifists. The elves can and do fight for their homeland when necessary. However, taking up arms is always considered the last resort. This reluctance to be warriors is both the weakness and strength of these elves. Because they often refuse to fight, the nomads treat them with little respect. The Pleasant Valley elves are scorned and mocked by the warlike Zamogedi and Tuigan, their closest neighbors. The elves are a popular target for raids, since they seldom put up strong resistance. However, once the elves decide bloodshed is inevitable, they are ferocious warriors. Taking up arms is an ultimate act. Every elf warrior becomes committed to victory at any cost. His own life has no purpose or meaning if he fails. All he will have accomplished is to strike in anger for no good result. So long as the elves are left alone, they bother no one. They are content to remain within their valley. Over the years, the nomads have learned this painful lesson. Now they tend to leave sleeping dogs lie, much to the contentment of the elves.

Port Ghaast Although a major town of Murghom, Port Ghaast is better described as a military encampment. The current king of Murghom, the nearly senile Tharmakkas IV, is obsessed with the de94

barracks are fortified watchtowers of the regular army. Near the city walls are the businesses that cater to the tastes of the hired swords—the taverns, gambling dens, and brothels. The regular army has its barracks in the main keep of the town and in the fortified outposts along the wails. These are built to protect against rebellion as much as outside attack. The armories are extremely well-guarded. The citizens live both inside and outside the walls. The wealthiest live inside, isolated from the rough-and-tumble world beyond the walls. The poor and everyday workers live on the fringes of town, beyond even the mercenary barracks.

lished at a time when the different sects of the Path waged open war on each other, the abbots supporting or defying the petty princes of their region. At that time Punakha was one of the strongest of these. For many decades it successfully withstood the Kao invaders. Eventually its resistance fell to politicking and the Kao managed to install an abbot favorable to their dynasty. In the centuries since the retreat of the Kao, Punakha has changed hands many times. It has retained its fierce sense of independence and has often been the rallying point for rebellion. Its history is now dark with traitors, bloody uprisings, and savage abbots. Today, the monks of Punakha are an evil and bloody-minded lot. They secretly have corrupted the practices of the Path and now worship evil gods, the new god Cyric in particular. These gods have promised them great power and authority over all the lands surrounding the Yehimal. In exchange, the priests and monks must make regular sacrifices and spread the word of Cyric throughout the lands. Many evil missionaries and advisors are sent from the monastery. Travelers are welcome at the monastery, since the priests want to be seen as friendly and helpful. Guests receive one of two receptions. Those who are important, are in large groups, or are likely to be missed are treated courteously and made welcome. The priests are very solicitous and helpful. Such visitors are an opportunity for them to spread their word. They portray their gods as misunderstood and distorted by rival faiths, particularly those to the west. To the gullible, this could seem quite true. Lone travelers and those who will not be missed

Game Information: Because it has such a high concentration of rough and tumble fighting men (3,000 to 5,000 mercenaries, depending on the season; 4,000 regular army), there is always plenty of action and work in Port Ghaast. The city guard (a thankless job) always needs warriors and wizards. Many temples have been built to accommodate the wide variety of faiths among the men. There are thieves and bards aplenty, even though justice is normally dispensed with a sword. It’s a risky life for any character, but one that many would never do without. The current commander of the regular garrison and military governor of the town is Umar the Patrician. He is an intelligent man and good commander, but is frustrated by the lack of discipline or activity for his troops. He knows perfectly well that Tharmakkas is a fool, wasting money on worthless, dishonorable mercenaries. Still, he struggles to do his best. He has been approached several times by disaffected noblemen, but for now has not considered their treasonous words. But, he has not reported them, either.

Punakha Dzong Located on the edge of the Growing Mountains is the large, fortresslike monastery of Punakha Dzong. Perched on a column of rock, the walls of the monastery are built to the edge of hundredfoot-high cliffs on three sides. At the fourth side the mountain rises abruptly. It is unscalable by normal means and forms an effective barrier from attack in that direction. Punakha is an old monastery built in ancient times before the Kao invasions. It was estab95

Khahan, who is always suspicious of sorcery, quickly realized the usefulness of the place and so set his capital here. The dead land improves his security against magical assassins and spies. Quaraband is a city of tents. Except for two large stone lions (gifts from the emperor of Shou Lung), it has no permanent buildings, only yurts. Of these, there are approximately 5,000 tents. The city usually has a population of no less than 20,000 men, women, and children. Visitors are typically amazed by the immense size of the nomad camp. Add to this the herds of animals and Quaraband becomes a gigantic sprawl. Animals are pastured as much as 50 miles from the city, a simple day’s ride for the warriors of the Tuigan. The khahan’s compound is the heart of Quaraband. It is set atop the highest piece of ground in the shallow valley of the city. A wooden fence separates it from the noyans’ yurts that surround the compound. Inside the fence is the khahan’s Great Yurt, Bayalun’s yurt, several treasure yurts, several for his bodyguard, and more for ceremonies and honored guests. There is also a large assembly ground for the couralitai and feast fires. With the exception of the khahan, his family, and his andas, no one is allowed to bring a mount into the khahan’s compound. Outside the main gate is a large tying place and more yurts for his bodyguard (the Kashik) and their commanders. The rest of Quaraband is a seemingly haphazard arrangement of yurts. Although it doesn’t seem so, the yurts are arranged according to a plan set out by the yurtchis— the officials appointed by Yamun to oversee the camp. The yurts are arranged according to status, feuds and alliances, and water needs. Those of highest status are nearest to the khahan’s compound, while the poorest live on the fringes of the city. Care is taken to keep rival clans well separated. As a nomadic city, Quaraband does not have many of the services characters normally expect. There are no inns, taverns, or stores. Strangers are expected to make their own camp or prevail on the hospitality of others. Visitors to the khahan are normally given a yurt for their use. There are blacksmiths, jewelers, tanners, weavers, and many other craftsmen throughout the city, but each sells his own goods. Characters will either have to go from yurt to yurt to buy the supplies

have an entirely different fate in store. They are kidnapped and placed in the secret dungeons beneath the monastery. There they are held until needed for dark purposes. Game Information: The current abbot is Tsipalmavri, a priest of Cyric (known in this region as Dhulvarisatta). On the surface, he is a portly, good-humored man, but in truth he is a vicious fiend. He calls his task the “great mission” and is sincerely devoted to his evil lord. There is absolutely nothing he will not do to further his cause.

Quaraband Although marked on the map, Quaraband’s location is never certain, for it is the capital of Yamun Khahan’s empire. A nomad city, it moves with the seasons and the campaigns of its lord. The site indicated is where it can be most commonly found throughout the year. Quaraband’s location is no random choice, but has been carefully selected for its combination of qualities. The pastures in this region of the steppe are rich. This is important to support the large numbers of horses, camels, sheep, and oxen of the nomads. Several small rivers and streams run through the area, providing adequate water. Any enemy that attacks Quaraband must cross many miles of open steppe, giving the khahan’s scouts adequate time to alert the capital. The most important consideration for Quaraband’s location is a result of the Avatar crisis. Quaraband is set in the center of a magic-dead land, approximately 5 miles across. The dead land prevents spell casting and temporarily negates the function of many magical items. Yamun 96

they need or hire a servant to do this job for them. Barter is standard, but the khahan also issues paper money that is good in Quaraband. While not common, it is reluctantly accepted by the people. Game Information: Although it has no walls and no fortifications, Quaraband is far from defenseless. Whenever the khahan is present, so is the Kashik, his bodyguard of 10,000 men. In addition, there are another 5,000 to 10,000 soldiers in the city at all times. Finally, in times of war, nearly every man of the city can take up arms, adding another 5,000 to 10,000 soldiers to the ranks. If Quaraband is attacked by a large force, it is unlikely the horse barbarians will stand and fight. Quaraband is a nomadic city, after all. The easier solution is for everyone to pack up their tents and move out. The nomads have no strong attachment to a single piece of land, so flight before the enemy is seldom a wrenching defeat. Once the people are no longer threatened, then the khahan and his warriors will attack.

Strangers who enter Ra-Khati are offered three choices. They can remain forever inside the borders, becoming citizens. They can die, attempting to flee. Perhaps worst of all, they can let their tongues be cut out, thus preventing them from telling the world about Ra- Khati. This last choice is sometimes chosen by the pilgrims following the sacred sources of the Gaya. Ra-Khati is a theocracy, a land ruled by the lamas. They rule their people justly and well, although their laws are strict and sometimes arbitrary. The leader of the country is the Dali Lama, the high priest of the land. He resides in an impressive palace in Saikhoi. The capital itself sits on a rugged hill between the Two Sacred Lakes. The Dali Lama spends nearly all his time in contemplation and is seldom seen by the common people. Every important town in Ra-Khati has a monastery of some size. The monks of the monastery both pray to their padhrasattvas— guardian gods—and rule the people. The latter is not difficult. The people are left to themselves for the most part. They are. too busy trying to eke out a life from the poor and rugged land of the mountains to stir up much mischief. Contrary to legends and tales, Ra-Khati is not a rich land. It does not have the large areas of pastures like Khazari, the foreign trade of Semphar, or the high civilization of Shou Lung. It is a land of rocky and narrow mountain valleys, rushing rivers, landslides, and glaciers. The people raise barley, millet, sheep, and yaks. When not in the field, they are gathering firewood from the mountains in preparation for the long winter to come. The monks of Ra-Khati follow a version of the Path of Enlightenment common to much of the

Ra-Khati Hidden in the Katakoro Shan, the kingdom of Ra-Khati is a mysterious and isolated land. It has a fanatic fear of strangers and has gone to great extremes to keep its existence secret. Because of this, little is known of Ra-Khati in the outside world, which is just the way the ruler of Ra-Khati wants things. It was not always this way. Ra-Khati once traded with the outside world, perhaps not openly and freely, but at least it had contact through the city of Kushk. Ail this changed, however, when Solon attacked Ra-Khati, hoping to conquer it. Bolstered by the might of the purple dragon, Gaumahavi (see Monstrous Compendium pages), Solon destroyed Kushk and nearly succeeded in its goal. Ra-Khati was only saved when the Dali Lama, the ruler of Ra-Khati, defeated the purple dragon in the skies over Saikhoi, the capital. The destruction wrought reinforced the people’s fear of outsiders. Kushk was left deserted, the Great Chain Bridge across the Jumpa Chasm was left broken, and the borders were closed to foreigners. To this day, Ra-Khati has effectively maintained its isolation. 97

ing taxes, keeping the peace, tracking down criminals, and defending the countryside from monsters. Game Information: Further details on RaKhati (including a map of the region) can be found in adventure FRA1, Stormriders.

Raudor Nestled in the Raurin Alta is the ancient ruin of Raudor. This ill-fated place was believed to have been built during the age of the Imaskari Empire. Raudor was once a city resting beneath a cliff at the end of a green vale. With the coming of the desert most of the city is now buried in sand or covered by rock slides from above. Buried under the sand and stone, the buildings have remained intact. Monsters and explorers have dug down to these chambers, creating a maze of ancient rooms and crude tunnels. Raudor has been deserted for as long as man or elf can remember. No sane man visits Raudor, for

eastern lands. They have added many protective gods—padhrasattvas—to the basic beliefs of the Path. Each monastery is dedicated to a particular padhrasattva, although all are worshipped by the monks. While there is no hostility between the different monasteries, every monk takes pride in his monastery over all others. The monks are assisted in their duties by sohei. The sohei handle most of the administrative duties of ruling the country—collect-


the rumors of what happens there are too terrible. Mind-numbing monsters slither through dark passages, statues drive men insane with their horrid visages, gaping pits open to unfathomable depths, and the very air reeks of a putrefying stench. Nor is Raudor rumored to be fabulously wealthy, rich with lost treasures. Those that have explored its mazelike passages (and retained their wits) have had little to show for their efforts. It is felt by most old hands in the adventuring trade that Raudor was picked over long ago. There is, however, one group of people that do seek out Raudor. Evil wizards and priests, drawn by hints and suggestions in ancient books, have sought out Raudor. There they hoped to learn the secrets of Raudor’s innate evil or searched for hideous artifacts rumored to be hidden far beneath the surface. Raudor has been no kinder to these explorers. Many have died. Others come back mad, their minds ruined. A few have actually returned more corrupt and powerful than before their journey. Such men have risen to terri-

fying heights of evil, causing suffering on an untold scale. In a way they have served as inspiration for others to go and seek their destiny in the ruins. Just what now inhabits Raudor is a mystery, one that few men wish answered. Whatever it is, it is powerful enough to twist men’s minds inside out, releasing their basest desires and passions on the world.


canals built around the cataracts, soft banks strengthened with stone, and shallow areas dredged. Even to this day, weak Murghom keeps several dredging barges in constant operation along the river. The Rauthenflow is vital to Murghom, since it taxes the ships that sail through its lands. A lot of barges do pass through the waterway. Downstream, toward the Innersea, barges drift lazily with the current, sometimes sped along by gangs of polers. Ships destined for Semphar are towed by mule and oxen from the banks. Although it is slow and tedious, the barges are still far more efficient than cumbersome caravans. Because the river is so well traveled, there is virtually no problem with river pirates. Most communities along the bank maintain river patrols for their own and the merchants’ protection. These communities depend on the river traffic. They sell food and raw materials to the barge captains. The barges, in turn, bring them goods from distant lands. Most of the communities along the bank have become quite wealthy from this trade.

Adventure Idea: While staying in Dhaztanar (or any of the towns near the desert), the player characters (who should all be good) hear rumors of an expedition to seek out Raudor. Investigation reveals that an illusionist is assembling a caravan to find the ruins and explore them. If the player characters meet with the spellcaster, they can easily see he is obsessed with finding something at Raudor. The illusionist comes across as unpleasant, untrustworthy, and irritating. It should be clear that his intentions are not good, but for now he’s done nothing wrong. Of course he’s up to no good. He is looking for the alleged “powerful evil artifact” hidden in Raudor. With it, he hopes to unleash hideous evil on his enemies and carve out his own kingdom. The player characters can either choose to accompany him, in hopes of stopping him in the act, or they can follow him, to keep an eye on him. (They cannot kill him outright—it wouldn’t be fair.) After reaching Raudor, the player characters have a new dilemma. The illusionist inadvertently releases a greater evil than his own into the world. Alone, neither the illusionist nor the player characters have the might to stop this threat. Unless they want great harm to fall on all of Semphar and beyond, the two sides must work together to stop the horror.

Semkhrun The Oracle City of Semkhrun was once a powerful outpost of the Muihorand empire. Although far from the center of the empire, its priests had significant influence over events in the far capital. Semkhrun was founded by the god-king of Muihorand after he had a prophetic dream. Following the instructions he had received, a muzzled ass was released on the Semphar plain. An entourage of priests followed its wanderings, until it finally died of starvation. This was where Semkhrun was built. Semkhrun was named the Oracle City because its sole purpose was to house the Oracle of Fahzakhum. It is unclear whether the oracle was a person, creature, or magical item, but its accuracy was renowned throughout the land. Priests and pilgrims came great distances to seek answers from it. The Masters of the Oracle (as its priests were known) quickly realized they could profit from these seekers. “Offerings” were required, even extorted, before the petitioners were allowed to pose their questions. To justify these payments, the Masters of the Oracle spent vast sums on building projects, erecting huge monu-

Rauthenflow This important waterway connects the Gbor Nor with the Innersea. The river has been made navigable along its entire length, thanks to the efforts of the powerful ancient empires of Imaskar and Muihorand. The rapids have been cleared, 100

ments throughout the city. Elaborate tombs were prepared for the high priests of the sect and fabulous treasures were supposedly buried with them. Eventually, the arrogance of the Masters of the Temple became too great. Believing themselves all-powerful, they demanded offerings even of the god-king. The priests even attempted to usurp the throne of Mulhorand. When the god-king died without a clear successor, they declared that the oracle had named an idiot cousin of the royal line to be the next god-king. This cousin was conveniently under their control. This was too much. in the brief civil war that followed, the armies of western Mulhorand, the true god-king’s forces, razed Semkhrun, put all the priests to the sword, and drowned the idiot pretender in the Gbor Nor. The oracle disappeared. The name of Semkhrun was removed from all monuments. The city was forgotten. All that remains of Semkhrun, on the surface, are a few crumbling obelisks and statues. However, beneath the earth there are many tombs, chambers, and lost constructions. For centuries, adventurers and grave robbers (if there is a difference) have looted the treasures of Semkhrun. The Masters of the Oracle were wise, however, and prepared many dangerous traps and unhappy fates for the unwary. Today, Semkhrun is a major adventuring site. There are many buried tombs and underground complexes here. Although abandoned by humans, other creatures have moved in. These, combined with the traps of the ancient builders, have made Semkhrun a dangerous place. However, enough brave souls have returned with treasure to make the effort worth the risk.

lush agricultural land. It is the envy of its neighbors. Semphar is ruled by Caliph Abu Bakr (for details on the caliph, see the NPC cards). He is a follower of the Muhjari faith, common to the lands of the southern coast. His people follow Muhjari and a mixture of other beliefs. Semphar has a long history, a mixture of subjugation and independence. At different times it has been part of the Imaskari, Mulhorand, and Shou empires. Each has left its mark in religions, language, customs, and laws. The Imaskari influence, most ancient, has left a lingering mystery of magical might and terror. Mulhorand promoted religious beliefs. Even today the Caliph is held in near godlike reverence. The Shou built the framework of a bureaucracy and civil law, allowing trade to flourish and prosper in Semphar. In addition, neighboring Solon has spread many Devic influences in dress, food, and religion. The horsemen of the steppes have made their impact on the armies of Semphar, which have a large proportion of cavalry. Semphar is a land of wealthy cities and poor villages, great learning and unsolved mysteries. It is famous for its ruins, lost tombs, and strange monsters. Bordered on it are the ruins of Raudor and Bhaluin, the dark forest of the Shalhoond, and the monsters of the Howling Gap. Perhaps there are even more wonders to be found throughout the land. The capital of Semphar is Dhaztanar. Other important cities are Phelzel and Estanil.

Semlithol Located on the coast one or two day’s journey from Phelzel, this little community is blessed with cool water, abundant orchards, and pleasant breezes. Because of these conditions, Semlithol is a summer retreat of many noblemen. Palatial villas line the coast and the townspeople now do most of their business by catering to the needs and whims of the wealthy.



This lone mountain forms a prominent landmark on the steppe, its volcanic cone visible for

Semphar is the mightiest nation of the Endless Waste. It has grown fat on the caravan trade and 101

the pleasures of the garden were at hand. The Old Man’s followers only had to carry out the occasional murder in order to earn the pleasures of the next world. Armed with his corps of assassins, the Old Man has sent emissaries throughout Toril, offering the services of his killers. Evil rulers and ambitious men have paid for their services. Sometimes the payment is in money, but more often it is in privileges for the faith of Bhaal—the establishment of a temple or the right to practice freely. Through his killers, the Old Man was gradually spreading the faith of Bhaal. Since the Avatar cataclysm, the Old Man has been faced by a new problem. All his trained assassins suddenly lost many of their abilities and he was left with a host of thieves. He has, however, adapted marvelously and now includes warriors, wizards, rogues, and priests of Bhaal among his ranks. Thus, he is well-prepared to dispatch a killer suited for any need. The cult of the Old Man is also fanatic about its secrecy. Any who discover the place are tracked down and killed as speedily as possible. The followers, being fanatics, would rather die than reveal the secrets of the cult. Thus, while the world knows of the sect (and whispers about it in secret), no one knows the location of the Fortress of the Old Man.

tens of miles. The peak is used as a navigational point for the nomads, hence its name. However, the area around the mountain is considered taboo by the tribes of the region. They tell of horrible spirits that suck away men’s lungs and of strange deaths that eventually come to those who violate the taboo. They see no reason to go to the mountain, since there is nothing of value to be found there. In a hidden canyon halfway up Sentinelspire is the Fortress of the Old Man. The existence of this fortress and its inhabitants is a carefully guarded secret. The fortress can only be reached from a narrow cleft in the rock. Here a passage has been cut through the solid stone to the canyon beyond. The gate is carved with a monstrous, leering face. In the passage, frightening statues are cunningly placed in shadowed spots to frighten away the curious. To guarantee results, real guardians are intermingled with the statues, should the curious probe too far. All these precautions are intended to ensure the privacy of the canyon’s inhabitants—the Old Man of the Mountain and his followers. Their canyon is a beautiful garden, filled with every comfort a person could desire. Wine flows from the rock, trees bear fruit year round, beautiful houris and handsome slaves are ready to do any bidding. For those who live here, there is no labor or want. There is, however, a price. The leader of this community is Alaodin, the Old Man of the Mountain. He is a priest of Bhaal. For years he has served his lord by creating and providing skilled assassins, fanatics in the service of Bhaal. With divine inspiration and aid, the Old Man has created this garden canyon, a reward on Toril for the dedicated and faithful. For those assassins who served faithfully and well, all

Game Information: The Fortress of the Old Man is a very dangerous place. There are normally 50 followers of the Old Man present (in addition to the Old Man himself). The majority of these are human, but there are a few dark elves, half-elves, dwarves, and halflings, recruited for their special abilities. All the followers are adventuring classes, although there are obviously no paladins or rangers. Only priests of Baal are allowed to serve. All the followers are of 4th level or higher. They are well-trained and well-equipped with weapons and magical items. In addition to the killers, there are approximately 200 servants for various duties. These servants, sometimes taken as pay for services, live in utter fear of their masters. They will not try to escape nor will they help outsiders. In the past, those servants who have tried have met terrible fates as examples to the others. Clearly, attempting to storm the Fortress of the


Old Man should be suicide. Indeed, large attacks are easier to overcome than small ones. The only possible way to successfully attack the area is to enter as a small group and strike surreptitiously; i.e., to be better assassins than the residents. Perhaps the only weakness of the Fortress is that the cultists cannot conceive of anyone who could be foolish enough to try this.

Shalhoond This great forest is unclaimed by any power. It is the border between the civilized South and the wild lands of the North. It is a savage place. Human settlements only penetrate the very edges of the forest. it is sometimes called the Great Wild Wood. Both Semphar and Murghom have settlements along the forest’s edge. The settlers take lumber from the forest, mostly walnut, birch, and pine, and ship it to the towns on the Gbor Nor. To simplify the transport, most of the settlements are along the rivers that penetrate the forest. In addition to lumbermen, the settlements have greater than normal numbers of rangers, guides, wardens, huntsmen, and trappers. These souls bravely venture into the forest for their livelihood. The Shaihoond is noted for its animal life. Hunters from the civilized South and the savage North stalk this ground. It is, however, a dangerous business, since the forest is filled with evil creatures.

Howling Gap. Bandits and raiding nomads lurk in the first region; horrific monsters sometimes descend on parties in the Howling Gap. It is customary for caravans to hire extra guards in Alashan or Semphar only for the purpose of crossing this area. Once safer lands are reached, the guards are frequently dismissed.

Skardu This small city is the capital of Khazari, though this is more in name than power. It is a wellfortified city, a necessary protection against the feuding nobles of that land. Within the walls are the Seven-Tiered Palace of Prince Ogandi, the Monastery of the Flowing Water, and the largest temple of the Red Mountain sect. A smaller Yellow Mountain temple can also be found in the walls, leading to much intrigue between the two rivals. Although Skardu is one of the five great cities of Khazari legend, its importance has greatly declined. Since the rise of the nobles and the governors, the authority of the royal house has fallen and the city along with it. Today, for a great city, Skardu seems somewhat shabby and run-down.

The Silk Road Winding its way from Yenching, through the high pass of Repo La, past Alashan, through the Howling Gap, and finally ending in Dhaztanar, the Silk Road is the major east-west trade route across the Endless Waste. Because it is shorter and there are more settlements along its length, the Silk Road is far preferred over the more desolate northern Spice Road. In general, travel along the Silk Road is safe, though not particularly comfortable. In Shou Lung, Khazari, and Semphar, there are tiny villages and hostels along the route, each one day’s journey from the next. In these lands, the threat of bandits is low. The route is well-patrolled and banditry is severely punished. No ruler wants to scare the caravan trade away. The two most dangerous parts of the journey are between Semphar and Khazari, and near the

Solon The ancient city of Solon has had a checkered and dark history. It was founded in the days of the Imaskari Empire. With the fall of that nation, it struggled to carve out its own empire, competing against Mulhorand and Shou Lung. For a short time it was successful, gaining control over most of the land south of the Raurin Alta. It traded with reclusive Ra-Khati and was a principal stop for trade routes headed for Durpar and the lands of the south. 103

zombies completely under his control. The truth is Ambuchar is an undead creature of inestimable age with mysterious magical powers. He came originally from Shou Lung, where he was the emperor Tan Chin, who was deposed by the wizard Shih. His ambition in Solon is to gain enough power to conquer RarKhati. After RaKhati falls, he will use that mountain kingdom as a base for reconquering Shou Lung. Now he has become obsessed with recovering the secrets of the Imaskari. He spends days and weeks in secret studies, searching out their lost magical arts. He has ordered massive excavations in search of lost magical items. He has no concern for the suffering of the people and those who die are transformed into zombies, totally under his control, so that they can continue working. Thus, the people of Solon are terrified, living in the frightening shadow of a despot more evil than, any they can imagine. They yearn for a great hero to rescue them. However, they are weak and cowardly. Their fear is so great that they would even betray their liberators, should any ever arise.

Slowly, Solon lost its grip over these lands. The desert overwhelmed regions, rendering them uninhabited. Shou invaders cut the ties with the north. Weakness and dissipation on the part of the Solon kings allowed other areas to slip from its grasp. The process has taken several centuries. Today, Solon has been seized by a new master, the loathsome Ambuchar Devayam. Seldom seen by outsiders, his influence is still quite obvious. Reports have reached Dhaztanar and Skardu of evil rites, savage laws, and dark portents from Solon. Once already Ambuchar has led armies against Ra-Khati, forcing the Purple Dragon to fight for him. He destroyed the city of Kushk and has severed communication between Ulgarth and the lands of the north. Whereas an ordinary ruler would never ruin his land so, Ambuchar apparently has no concern for his subjects or his king dom. Indeed, under his guidance, all that remains of the kingdom of Solon is a decaying city and a few estates around it.

Somraggah This large town sits astride the Road of the Dawn, once an important trade route between Semphar and Mulhorand. With the collapse of the southern trade that went through Solon, the Road of the Dawn sees little traffic anymore. Somraggah sits at the edge of a sea of sand, for the winds from the south have been slowly pushing the Plains of Purple Dust northward. The once fertile land has become dry. Rivers have been reduced to streams and streams have disappeared. While the change has been disastrous for the farmers of the region, it has not been bad for everyone. Large deposits of chalcedony and jasper have been discovered beneath old riverbeds. Date palms now flourish where cotton grew before. These things have kept Somraggah prosperous in hard times. Today the town is known for its miners, gem cutters, and jewelers. In addition, its markets are filled with fine dates that are shipped as far as Shou Lung and Impiltur.

Game Information: If the player characters inquire further about Solon, they will hear many strange and conflicting reports. All of these involve the mysterious ruler of that land. Just who or what Ambuchar is will be unclear. According to some informants, he is a human of incredible age, who has found some method of sustaining himself. Other reports describe him as a nonhuman monster, a thing that inhabits the bodies of others and consumes them from the inside. Still more reports tell of a lich, an illusionist, a charismatic con artist, even a demigod. Equally confusing are the reports of his activities and goals. He is either digging up the city stone by stone, executing all the citizens, assembling vast armies, or transforming his people into


The Spice Road Cutting across the northern steppe, sometimes straight as an arrow, other times twisting and turning, the Spice Road carries trade from Chao Yang to distant Almorel. There it links to the Golden Way, although some would have it that the meeting actually occurs at the Ni-Ko Oasis. The way is long and dangerous. However, it is the only route between northern Faerun and the East. For those who wish to avoid the unending taxes of Semphar, Murghom, and Mulhorand, the Spice Road is a better route. The greatest danger along the way are the savage beasts that stalk their prey along the route. Many animals, and monsters of low intelligence, have been drawn to the road by the dead horses, mules, and occasionally people that are left behind. This has led them to also prey upon travelers who aren’t yet dead. Nomads are the second-greatest risk, although their blood-thirst is overstated. Canny merchants learn to bargain first and fight later. Even the most hard-bitten raider finds bargaining better than

fighting. Still, in the hundreds of miles that the road stretches, there is at least one warrior rash enough to reach for his sword without thinking. Because of these dangers, caravans on the Spice Road tend to hire twice the number of guards, compared to their counterparts traveling the Silk Road. To pay the guards, the caravans must either charge higher prices for their goods or carry more precious items that take little space but bring high profits. Unfortunately, these


doned the fortress to carry on their good works elsewhere. Not all left. A handful remained behind to perfect their arts. These devoted few purged their lives of all corruptive influences—meat, tea, talk, women, eventually even breathing were forbidden. Somehow, on their faith alone, the Invisible Tigers survived. Now these former priests have become more than human. Their extreme existence has given them incredible powers. Completely dedicated to the struggle against evil, the Invisible Tigers still venture from the fortress to carry on the struggle. cargoes act as an added lure to bandits, thus creating a vicious circle.

Game Information: There are only five Invisible Tigers remaining. These priests now live a shadowlike existence. Their physical bodies have dwindled away to nothing, leaving only a ghostly outline of their form. They are incorporeal and completely silent. Each has the spell casting ability of an 18th level cleric. Each possesses 12 hit dice and can only be struck by magical weapons of +3 potency or greater. They hit any target as if it were AC 10. They cause no damage, but their touch causes fear. A saving throw will negate this. In general, the Invisible Tigers do not become directly involved in any conflict. Their existence requires great concentration and in combat there is a risk of suddenly disappearing forever. Instead the invisible Tigers advise, counsel, or warn those fighting for the cause of good. The Invisible Tigers see the Raja of Solon as their greatest enemy. However, because of his nature and power, there is little they can do against him directly, nor do they know how to defeat him.

Game Information: Merchants on the Spice Road tend to welcome passengers and nonpaying travelers more than those on the Silk Road. More able bodies generally means better protection. The merchants also welcome the companionship, since the journey is long and slow. Player characters will find it easier to join up with a caravan leaving Almorel than they would in Dhaztanar.

The Tiger’s Nest Hidden on the southern slopes of the A-Ling Shan, this old fortress exists where none should be—across the impassable Jumpa Chasm on the cliffs of the untracked Yehimal. In short, there is no way to reach the Tiger’s Nest or to have built it where it stands, short of magic. This is, of course, precisely how the Tiger’s Nest was built. Ages past, the Tiger’s Nest was an independent monastery. The monks and priests who dwelt there were good, and abhorred the excesses and cruelties of the imaskari Empire. From their stronghold, the priests did all they could to defy the might of the ancient wizards, countering evil magic with powerful clerical spells. Carefully concealing the location of their fortress, they aided the peasants and thwarted the attempts of the Imaskari governors. The priests became famous as the Invisible Tigers and their fortress became known as the Tiger’s Nest. In the end, Imaskari fell, though the efforts of the Tiger’s Nest had little to do with it. For a time, it seemed that the defeat of the Imaskari would spell the doom of the Invisible Tigers. Without an enemy to rail against, marry of the priests aban-

Tsaparang Fortress This ancient fortress was built sometime in the age of the Kingdom of Guge, although it certainly was not constructed by that empire. The Tsaparang Fortress is a massive structure, literally carved from a small mountainside. The natural stone was hewn into battlements, towers, and gates. The mountain is honeycombed with tunnels, galleries, chambers, halls, rooms, and apartments. Most of these have windows or arrow slits to the outside world.) From a distance, Tsaparang looks like a gigantic, crumbling anthill. The rock is old and soft, 106

crumbling away at a touch. The towers and battlements have a rounded look. The narrow arrow slits and square windows are soft-edged with gaping cracks. The empty sockets stare at the surrounding landscape. In a few places whole sections have collapsed, leaving only a few roofless walls behind. Inside the fortress is in little better shape. The rock, less exposed to wind and rain, is less crumbly. However, wild beasts have made their dens here and plant roots have forced their way through the walls and ceilings. Water seeping through the cracks has begun to form stalactites and stalagmites. The once-grand halls are slowly falling into ruin. The builders of Tsaparang were a people known as the Maviddi. Almost nothing is known of them, for Tsaparang is the only trace of their civilization that remains. Half-elven in nature, the Maviddi built Tsaparang to defy the growing might of Guge. An awful and protracted war was fought between the two; the Maviddi were too few to through off the yoke of Guge, and Guge was unable to crack the great fortress. Apparently the Maviddi felt no shame for building into the ground. They did much to beautify their fortress. in its glory, the walls were covered with brilliant frescoes, finely chiselled details covered every inch of stonework, rooms were arranged and windows cut to allow light and air to every part of the complex and even the heaviest fortifications were carved so as to seem as light as possible. Eventually even Tsaparang fell. Of the defenders, all but a few children were slaughtered. Those that survived were scattered throughout the Katakoro Plateau and beyond. The treasures of Tsaparang were looted. Even the best stonework was chiseled from the walls. The bodies of the slaughtered were left to rot, unburied by the victors. Since that time, Tsaparang has had an evil reputation. Wise men say the place is haunted with the spirits of those who died. Normal people don’t venture there. Bandits, thieves, and wastrels sometimes move in, but none have stayed long. Lone travelers are often found dead in the ruins. Events such as this have convinced people that the old fortress is haunted by evil spirits.

that died in the final days. These Maviddi are still searching for their executioners. All persons except half-elves with Maviddi blood are considered enemies by these spirits. Even half-elves are at great risk, since the spirits intuitively know whether the character has any Maviddi blood (no matter how distant). There is only a 5% chance of this for halfelf player characters. The spirits will not harm such a character and, if attacked by that character, the spirits will flee rather than fight.

Ustann The small town of Ustann, on the coast of the Gbor Nor, is noted for the Myrthard Clan of fishermen. The Myrthard are the only ones to hunt the giant sturgeon of the Gbor Nor. Fishing for these immense monsters is a dangerous but profitable business. The giant sturgeon are only found in the coldest and deepest waters. With their tremendous strength and savagery, these fish have destroyed many a fishing boat. Over the decades, the Mythard have developed their methods to a high art. They fanatically guard their secrets—the fishing sites, baits, and other techniques. More than once they have sabotaged nets, holed boats, or encouraged competitors to leave town. They have even gone so far as to hire thugs (less-than-scrupulous adventurers) to deliver their messages. While all this earnest secrecy may seem overdone, even ridiculous to outsiders, the giant sturgeon are considered rare delicacies in the courts of Semphar and Murghom. The price of a single fish can provide for the needs of a single family for a year. This is fortunate, since rarely are more than five giant sturgeon brought out of the lake each year.

Game Information: The Tsaparang Fortress is haunted by haunts, ghosts, and specters of those


that time only a few hardy souls have gone to the effort of finding Winterkeep. No one has made an extensive exploration of its halls.

Yal Tengri Also know as the Great ice Sea, the Yai Tengri is a southern extension of the northern ocean that covers the top of the world. Its waters are frigid and icebound in winter. The ocean is home to many cold-loving creatures, from the mundane to the dangerously exotic. The Yal Tengri is free of ice for the six summer months of the year. In the spring, sailors must be watchful for icebergs that calve off the permanent ice cap further north. In the fall, there is the risk of becoming icebound as the waters gradually freeze over. By winter, the Yal Tengri is a sheet of ice with only a few open passages. These are treacherous routes, subject to the shifting winds and currents.

Winterkeep At the head of a rocky point on the Yal Tengri is the ruin known as Winterkeep. On the surface it is little more than a few cracked pillars and stacks of stone. The bulk of the ruin is found beneath the surface. Winterkeep was built during the Raumatharan Age. Originally a nobleman’s estate, Winterkeep became the winter palace of the Raumatharan kings. Although the winter’s here were far from pleasant and mild, the rulers of Raumathar were attracted by the rugged landscape, abundant game, and harsh conditions. The Raumatharan’s prided themselves on their stoic hardiness. The palace had two main sections, the surface palaces and the underground halls. The surface palaces were built mainly of wood. Since the collapse of Raumathar, the surface palaces have been destroyed by fire and decay until there is nothing left. The underground halls have survived. These were used during the winter months, when the royal family and all the palace courtiers would retreat beneath the surface to avoid the fierce blasts of winter. Because of this the halls were richly appointed. Damask arras, rugs, fine carved wood, incense burners, and more made the groundhog’s existence comfortable. Treasure vaults were carefully hidden in the twisting passages, along with barracks, armories, granaries, wine cellars, and larders. Just how many treasures remain at Winterkeep is unknown. in the chaos that followed the collapse of Raumathar, there was no communication with such distant parts of the empire. Civilized men retreated to the west, leaving the lands around the palace to savages and beasts. Since

Yellow Thunder Falls Plunging from the Katakoro Plateau over the Yellow Serpent Border Cliffs, the Takt Muren drops a dizzying height in just a few moments. This immense waterfall, 2,000 feet high, is the Yellow Thunder Falls. The falls take their name from the sulphurous deposits that line the cliffs in this region. The misty water catches the light of the orange, red, and yellow streaks in the rock, giving the falls a golden, fiery hue. The falls appear suddenly and with little warning. From a distance all that is heard is a whispery rush, like wind through the leaves. This builds in intensity. By the time the noise can definitely be identified, it is too late, the falls are upon the traveler. The current is strong and swift. Unless immediate action is taken, the craft will be swept over the brink. Near the falls is a trail from the top of the cliff to the base. This winds down through an endless series of switchbacks, nearly as steep as ladders in some places. Climbing up or down the trail takes the better part of a day. Game Information: When the wind blows the right direction, mists from the falls soak the path. What is merely a dangerous trail becomes


treacherously deadly. Those climbing up or down it have a 20% chance of falling at some point. Roll 1d6 and multiply the result by 10 to determine the distance the character falls before landing on a solid surface.

Zanda Tholing Known as the “Place of Kings,” Zanda Tholing is an important pilgrimage for the royal families of Khazari. Located far outside the Khazari border, Zanda Tholing is a grave stop of the deceased Khazari rulers. When a king or prince dies, his body must be brought to this place and exposed to the elements. There it is left until the flesh is stripped from the bones. The bones are then returned to Khazari for internment in the royal crypts. This bizarre tradition has endured for centuries. Rulers have built memorial markers at Zanda Tholing, commemorating the passing of previous rulers. These are placed outside the actual holy ground. Over the centuries, these carved pillars have become the “forest of steel,” the markers standing like barren trees in the forest. At the heart of Zanda Tholing is the exposure ground, a very sacred site. No one is supposed to enter this area except the priests of the Zanda. These priests maintain a small monastery, no more than ten souls, at the edge of the holy ground. After special purification rites, they place the body on the pallet. Once this is finished, the priests say prayers day and night. When the bones are ready, they fetch them back, undergoing purification ceremonies when the task is finished. Zanda Tholing is a site of supreme holiness, dedicated to the Enlightened One. It is said that truly great leaders are consumed in a gout of blue flame, leaving only their unscorched bones behind. When this happens, it is surely a sign of the deceased’s greatness.

Ultimately it was Dhaztanar that won, through the simple expedient of appealing to greed. Recognizing that they were no threat to the eastern trade, the merchants of Dhaztanar lobbied to make the Rauthenflow navigable. Over great resistance, the project was undertaken, restoring the engineering works of the ancients. Ships could now sail straight from the Inner Sea to the docks of Dhaztanar. Zindalankh’s power over the western trade was shattered. Since that time, Zindalankh has steadily dwindled. Once prosperous, its people are now poor and destitute. Denied their honest livelihood, the citizens of Zindalankh have resorted to less moral means. The city is now a haven for the pirates that plague the Gbor Nor and the mouth of the Rauthenflow. Merchants venture here to ransom stolen wares or pick up some choice item for a fraction of its value. Thieves dwell in every alley, cardsharps at every table. The only law that exists here is the law of the sword. Although Zindalankh is under the rule of the Bey of Murghom, the citizens pay no attention to Murghom law. They allow the Bey’s minor meddling and pronouncements in exchange for the protection they receive. Not only do the city guards mind their own business, the presence of the Bey’s men implies that he will fight for what he owns. Were it not for this, the fleets and armies of Semphar would have handily destroyed Zindalankh long ago. However, with the Bey’s protection, such an act might be an open declaration of war. Zindalankh is struggling for its independence in its own unique way. Should it secure its freedom, there is no telling what the blackguards of the city might decide to do next.

Zindalankh Situated nearly opposite Dhaztanar, Zindalankh was once the great city’s fiercest competitor. Once it was the end of the Road of the Dawn, the only route between the Gbor Nor and Mulhorand. Just as Semphar controlled the flow of trade from the east, Zindalankh had a grip over trade from the west. Each city struggled to gain supreme power over the trade of the Gbor Nor. 109

Terra Nova

The relationship between men and land is an important and vital one in shaping both the attitudes and values of the people and the face of the land. Each exists to affect and alter the other and in doing so affects the fortunes and ambitions of an entire land. Just what particular form this relationship assumes varies greatly from culture to culture (which in turn tells much about the people). in Faerun, the people seek to dominate and control the land, impressing their stamp on nature and forcing it to produce and bear fruit. Dams, mills, drained swamps, and carefully laid-out fields are all outward signs of this effort. Among the Muhjien, the land is seen as a force to be shaped and organized into greater beauty than already existed. Formal gardens, fountains, and delicate breeding of flowers for their beautiful blooms are just a few of the ways this attitude is expressed. Shou Lung adopts a third view, that of trying to live in balance between the natural world and the world of men. Landscapes are admired for their natural beauty. Gardens are created to imitate nature and still improve upon it. Man shapes the land, but tries to do so in harmony with the natural forms and powers of the land itself. The power of the earth is known and respected, resulting in the important arts of geomancy and feng shui that guide daily life. Among the people of the Endless Waste, there is a fourth, entirely different, view. To the nomads of the steppe, it is nature, not man, that is predominant. Life in the Endless Waste is harsh and rugged and men quickly learn to respect the power of natural forces. Nature is unforgiving

and more important than man. Men who try to impose their will on the land fail. Water is too scarce to dam or irrigate. The land is too poor and dry to farm. Winters are too harsh, summers too hot. All these forces are too powerful for men, even with their magic, to overcome and control. Thus, men adjust their lives to the demands of the environment, instead of changing the land. The Endless Waste is not all one unified expanse, a single terrain and climate that never changes. Within the territory covered there are several distinct climate zones, created by varying factors of latitude, altitude, and landforms. These divide into seven basic groups: steppe, prairie, forests, desert, high mountain meadows, high mountains, and arctic plain. Although these are the major types, the divisions between each climate zone are not always clear. Desert does not instantly change to steppe or steppe to high mountains. Most often each fades into the other, creating borders where two zones blend. Dominating the Endless Waste is the steppe, stretching roughly in an arc from the center to the northeast, terminating in the region of the Chigiogi Mountains. Beyond these mountains, and also scattered in other areas around the steppe, are swampy forests of birch and pine. The largest expanse of these forests, beyond the Chigiogi range, extends east all the way to the Yellow Sea and north as far as the tundra line. To the west it spills through the gap between the Chigiogi and Ulhai mountain ranges, only to, quickly fade into the steppe. To the southeast of the central steppe is the high, cold desert of Quoya. it is a rocky and lifeless region that serves to separate the barbarian horsemen from the provinces of Shou Lung. Further to the southeast, the land rises quickly, entering into a jumble of ranges and valleys until it eventually reaches the high plateau of the mountain lands. This eventually terminates in the southeast in the towering peaks of Tabot. Thus, to understand the people of the Endless Waste, their beliefs, even their history, it is necessary to understand the powerful forces of the land itself. This includes the different forms the earth takes: desert, steppe, mountains, tundra; the different climates that shape it: scorching heat, sub-arctic cold, thin glacial winds; and the different beasts that dwell in or on it. 110

Terra Firma The greatest part of the Endless Waste, and what to many inspires its name, is the considerable area of the central steppe. Beginning east of the mountains of Rashemen and south of Yal Tengri (the Great ice Sea), the steppe reaches south to the edges of the Shalhoond forest and curls around the eastern edges of the Teyla Shan (Godswatch Mountains). Eastward, its even expanse is broken by the peaks of the Kora Shan. It continues beyond this range only to dwindle into the even more forbidding wastes of the Quoya desert. North it blends into the great Chigiogi range and the forests of the Pazruki. Although it appears to be nothing but a wasteland, the steppe is the heart and the soul of the Endless Waste. To the uninformed it seems blighted; freezing in winter, scorched in summer. Yet, for those who live there, it is a fruitful land that amply provides for their needs (albeit their needs are simple). in spring the ground is a carpet of green grass and wild flowers. In winter, abundant game leaves its tracks in the snow. By

summertime, the tough grasses nourish the horses. Year-round, the immense distances provide room for the wandering people to make their homes in peace. Even though it is the largest, the steppe is not the only fertile region in the Endless Waste. in the areas where the steppe meets the forests and mountain ranges are small zones of true, rich prairie. These enclaves are valuable ground for the wandering horsemen. At the height of a blis-


Tunnels tend to be limited to those areas where the earth is hard and compact, although digging in these areas is very difficult; in the sandier regions where tunneling is easy, shafts are prone to cave-ins. In the hilly regions, there is less of the dusty soil of the plains. instead, the ground is rocky, the soil gravelly and ill-suited to growing crops. Sandy ridges and slopes are found in sheltered areas where the wind has blown the soil off the plain. The soft stone of the hills—limestone and sandstone— is shaped into strangely eroded shapes. Many of these are quite distinctive, particularly in the drier regions near the desert. The nomads of the steppe name the most prominent of these formations and use them as landmarks in their journeys.

tering summer, prairie pastures retain a touch of green and during winter nutritious grasses lay beneath the snow. Water is easier to find. Crops can even be grown. At other points along the edge of the steppe are primeval forests. North of the Chigiogi lies the greatest of these, while the Shalhoond is only a pale rival. Here, among the swampy ground and broken hills, animals roam. Water and wood, both so rare on the steppe, are found in abundance. The forests have become a vital part of the nomadic existence, providing ready supplies of certain scarce resources. They are also filled with dangers. The woods provide sanctuary for many deadly beasts, normal and fantastic, unsuited to life on the open steppes.

Climate: The steppe exists in part because of its climate; rainfall and temperature affect the land, plants, and animals of the region. Although mild and pleasant compared to other regions of the Endless Waste, the steppe is still far from idyllic, particularly for agriculture. Summers are hot and dry, winters bitter cold and often snowy. Water is one of the most important and valuable resources of the steppe. Rainfall varies greatly from season to season. The prevailing northwest winds, blowing off the Great Glacier of Faerun and the Yal Tengri (Great ice Sea), regulate the pattern of rainfall. The rains are heaviest in the spring, often accompanied by immense thunderstorms, as the warming, moist air sweeps through the mountain gap between Rashemen and Sossal. By summer the pattern changes as the southerly winds off the deserts sweep north. In fall the wind pattern begins to shift back and thunderstorms once again sweep across the steppe. Rainfall is moderate and life returns to the dry prairies. Fall is cut short by the quick onset of winter as the freezing blasts off the Great Glacier and the Yal Tengri rush once more across the land. The air is bitter cold and dry. Snowfalls are sparse, although the strong winds can whip them, into savage blizzards. The conditions on the steppe create two special occurrences. First are the thunderstorms of spring and fall. These are powerful storms and tremendous displays of nature, with high wind, lashing rain, and crashing lightning. On the fiat

The Central Steppe Landforms: Many people mistakenly assume the steppe is a flat, unbroken expanse. While sections of it are level or slightly rolling at best, substantial areas are roughly broken, scored by steep-sided streambeds and sharply cresting hills. A more apt description of the steppe is treeless. Hills and rolling terrain it has, trees it doesn’t. The steppe soil is mostly fine-grained sand and dust, chestnut brown to dark yellow in color. it is certainly not the richest soil in the Forgotten Realms, but neither is it the poorest. It can, under the right conditions, support abundant crops. Getting the right conditions, however, is a capricious and chancy affair. Across the plains and in the valleys of the steppe, the soil ranges from a fairly compact, hard clay to stretches of soft, wind-blown sand. The soil doesn’t hold water well, so the ground surface is usually dry and dusty.


areas of the steppe, the lightning may strike at anything above the surrounding plain— tents, herds, riders, and particularly armored men. During the summer, the threat and power of thunderstorms is replaced by the fiercely blowing wind of the amyashi, the dust storms that can darken the sky with a thick, gray pall. These dust storms can last for days, covering everything in a dry layer of fine soil and sand. Grasses are buried and even the contours of the land can be altered. The chart below shows the average temperature and rainfall on the central steppe for the different months of the year. Although the nomads of the plain use a 24-month lunar calendar, the months here are presented according to the Calendar of Harptos, commonly used in Faerun.

rooms, and foul-smelling komol. There are some trees; in particular, willows, birch, and thick brush line the banks of rivers, but such clumps are far apart. During the spring, plants quickly turn green, even before all the snow is melted from the ground. By the time the thunderstorms of late spring arrive, the steppe is a carpet of green grass and colorful wild flowers of blue, white, yellow, and pink. These grow and blossom in the very short period between the snows of winter and the scorching dryness of summer. Animals venture deep into the steppe, grazing on the fine pastures of rich growth. By the height of summer, the green glory of the steppe is brown and brittle. With little rainfall, the plants must rely on their deep roots and drought resistance. Leaves close up or wither to conserve moisture, and growing stops. Only the roots and stem harbor any life. Grazing is poor and much of the wildlife stays near rivers, wooded slopes, or oases. Only the hardiest animals can survive on the bare steppe. With fall, the growing spurt is renewed. Plants that looked dead during the summer suddenly show new greenery. Seeds develop and spread. Roots grow deeper. In the month or two before the onset of winter, plants build up the reserves they need to survive the cold months to come. Animals once again venture out to graze and migrations begin to reach the forests where many beasts shelter for the winter. Winter is the bleakest period of all. Grasses die back to below the surface, leaving behind only the brown stubble of their tops. The few trees lose their leaves. What little nourishment there is comes from dry fodder, bark, and the stubborn

Steppe Average Rainfall /Temperature Month Hammer* Alturiak * Ches* Tarsakh Mirtul Kythorn Flamerule Eleasias Eleint Marpenoth Uktar* Nightal *

Rain 1” 1.5” 2.5” 3.5” 4” 2” 1.5” 1” 1” 2” 2” 1.5”

Temp. 10 20 30 50 60 70 80 70 60 40 30 20

* Blizzards possible. The chart lists the average temperature and rainfall for a given month. Actual temperatures can vary widely, depending on location. To determine the given weather condition for a day, see the Weather Chart (included with the separate cards). Flora and Fauna: Treeless is the word that best describes the steppe. Marginal soil and little water mean there is little sustenance for the growth of strong trees. Plants growing on the steppe tend to be short, hardy grasses. These grow anywhere from four inches to several feet in height; water, wind, and soil determine the lushness of growth. However, grass is not the only plant. Many other plants also grow here, including useful species like wild onions, edible mush113

water (especially oases) are most often dominated by humans who fiercely defend their settlements from strangers— even others of their own kind. The defender has the clear advantage here, since his supplies are more abundant than those of the attackers outside. Thus, the monster population of the steppe tends to be settled at the few sites able to support villages, or moving across the land according to the seasons. The creatures of the steppe are solitary or organized into small bands to prevent the overstraining of resources. Where 500 orcs will fare quite well in the High Forest of Faerun, the same number would face the continual specter of starvation on the steppe if they traveled as a single group. Hence, they split up into several smaller groups, still traveling together, but spread out over a wider area. The Endless Waste serves as a border between East and West and monsters encountered will be from both ends of the spectrum. The frequency of Occidental and Oriental monsters varies even within the range of the steppe. The Frequency heading in the monster’s statistics worsens by one (Common becomes Uncommon, Uncommon to Very Rare, etc.) for Western monsters in the eastern half of the steppe and vice-versa. In addition, there are creatures unique to the lands of the Endless Waste that are rarely, if ever, found elsewhere. The table below lists creatures and monsters typically found on the steppe. These lists are organized by frequency and geographic location (east or west). Where needed, special explanations are given. These lists are meant to help you prepare adventures and special encounter tables that reflect the feeling of the steppe; however, you are by no means limited in your selections to the monsters given here. Any creature can be included; all that’s needed is a rational explanation of how and why the monster is present.

mosses that live under the crust of snow. Many small mammals go underground to hide out the season and feed on the nourishing roots. Larger animals retreat to the shelter of the forests and river bottoms. It is the adaptability of the animals that has allowed them to survive. Indeed the steppe is rich with game, large and small. Migratory animals, roaming onto the steppe during the spring and fall, include antelope, khulan (wild horses), and wolves; while rabbits, fox, jackals, marmots, rats, and mice live on the steppe year-round. Soaring overhead are magnificent hawks, prized as hunting birds, and less-favored vultures. Larks, cranes, and pheasant are all found in the drier regions, while ducks and geese use the river valleys as homes and migratory routes. There are snakes and lizards, although none are poisonous varieties. Fish of various types fill the streams and rivers. The steppe is far from the vacant and barren endless waste described by foreign travelers. Creatures Fair and Foul: It is a mistake to assume that because the steppe is barren of towns and settlements, no fantastic creatures dwell in its boundaries. It is also a mistake to assume the steppe is a place filled with deadly monsters so dangerous that all potential settlers have fled. The fantastic population of the steppe mirrors the pattern of human (and demihuman) settlement in the same region. Organized communities, whether human towns or orc lairs, are few and far between. The resources needed to support these— water, wood, and food—are slim. Water and game are seasonal, so that supplies can rarely be relied on throughout the year. Those places that have guaranteed sources of

Common Bat (R outside the hilly regions) Giant centipede Large centipede Fire beetle Giant rat Lesser nature spirit


Huge spider Large spider Wild boar Wild dog Wild horse Wolf Uncommon Badger Basilisk (R in eastern region) Large bat (VR outside hilly areas) Cockatrice (R in eastern region) Camel Hawk Ogre Shiner-gaki (R in western region) Giant spider

Kenku (only encountered near settlements) Ogre Mage (only encountered near settlements) Werefox (only encountered near settlements) Weretiger Winter wolf (only encountered during winter months)

Rare Ant lion Bakemono (VR in western region) Behir Blink dog Nomadic centaur Cyclopskin (VR in eastern region) Brass dragon Copper dragon Eagle Falcon Hill giant Hippogriff Hobgoblin Hu hsien (VR in western region) Kobold (only encountered near settlements) Land urchin Greater nature spirit Oni (VR in western region) Orc (VR in eastern region) Rhaumbusun Phase spider Steppe tiger Sull Thri-kreen Werewolf (VR in eastern region) Dire wolf

The Prairies In small areas along the edges of the steppe are fringes of valuable land, precious for farming and settlement. Here the fierce conditions of the steppe are mellowed by the surrounding lands to create regions that can be farmed, at least marginally. Water is easier to find, temperatures are a little less extreme, and the soil a little more amenable to the plow. Small settlements appear and the civilized population increases. The largest of these areas is the great Semphar Upland, a tilted plateau that forms the heart of the Caliphate of Semphar. Starting at the shores of Gbor Nor, the land rises gradually to the base of the Teyla Shan. To the north, the Shalhoond absorbs much of the winter fury that blows out of the steppe, while to the south the Raurin Alta (Raurinshield Mountains) protects from the drying southern winds. Gbor Nor provides cooling breezes and rains. Trapped by the high walls of Teyla Shan, these rains mostly fall on the western plain of Semphar. In addition to the Semphar Upland, there are other, though smaller, areas of rich prairie. There is a small band of fertile plain north of the Shalhoond, between the Mountains of Copper and the Khopet-Dag. There is also another area on the Shou Lung border, just south of the Chigiogi Mountains. All told, these three regions are in many ways the breadbasket of the Endless Waste.

Very Rare Bulette Megalo-centipede Hell hound Kala (only encountered during winter months)


these storms, though, are beneficial, leaving behind layers of new, rich topsoil. Semphar Upland Average Rainfall / Temperature Month Hammer Alturiak Ches Tarsakh Mirtul Kythorn Flamerule Eleasias Eleint Marpenoth Uktar Nightal

Landforms: The land of the prairies is just that—flat, relatively smooth, and even. Rivers and streams are steep-banked, the water cutting easily through the soft soil. There are dry washes eroded by the spring runoffs. The soil is soft loam at the surface, giving way to rocky gravel a few feet beneath the topsoil. Low hills rise gradually to rugged foothills in the mountainous regions.

Rain 1.5” 2.5” 3.5”

Temp 20 25 40 50

4” 2.5”

60 70


75 70


1” 1”





35 25


Flora and Fauna: In general, the prairies have no specialized ecologies. Instead, animals and plants of the adjacent lands form the life of the region. Thus these borderlands are home to wild horses, boar, goats, sheep, wolves, rabbits, hawks, foxes, pheasants, and antelope. Plants are mostly grasses, with small stands of forests growing along stream banks. Thick brush grows in gullies where seasonal flooding happens. Crops of wheat, barley, cotton, oats, and millet grow in the fields of settled areas.

Climate: For the two prairie regions outside Semphar, the climate is a mixture of the neighboring lands. The Ejen Horo (north of the Shalhoond) is the driest, suffering the most from the weather extremes of the steppe-hot in summer and cold in winter. The Shou frontier land is coldest but the Chigiogi Mountains provide more water and cooling winds to ease the summer’s heat. Emperors and nobles once maintained summer palaces on the wooded slopes overlooking the prairie many centuries ago. The mountains serve to protect from the worst of the blizzards that come out of the northwest but, even so, snowfall is heavy during the winter months. Of the three, the Semphar Upland has the best climate. Rainfall is adequate and is reasonably spread throughout the year, coming heaviest in late spring. Summertime temperatures are hot, but not too hot. Fall is long, cool, and often quite muddy, making travel and harvesting difficult. Snowfall is light and blizzards are virtually unknown. There are frequent thaws that transform the ground into a quagmire. Winter is gray and often marked by cold rain and sleet. The greatest weather risk comes from the powerful dust storms that sometimes sweep through the gap between Gbor Nor and the Raurin Alta. These are capable of blackening the sky for days on end, filling the air with smothering grit. Even

Creatures Fair and Foul: What holds for the normal plants and animals is also true for the monsters found in the prairies. The Ejen Horo north of Semphar has a mixture of monsters from the steppe, the Shalhoond, and the Khopet-Dag Mountains. In the Shou border prairie, characters can find creatures from the steppe, the Chigiogi Mountains, and the Quoya desert. The lists of suggested monsters from these regions should be used when creating encounters and tables for these prairies. The Semphar Upland is a different matter. Here there are more settlements and agricultural land. These keep out some types of wandering monsters and attract others. The lists below give the creatures typical to the Upland. Other creatures (from adjacent lands) can be encountered, but at a frequency one less than normal. Thus, a crea-


ture uncommon to the Shalhoond becomes rare in the Semphar Upland. Common: Bat Fire beetle Herd animal Jackal Ogre Rat Huge scorpion Giant toad Wild boar Wild dog

Rare: Ankheg Brass dragon Dao Falcon Hippogriff Jackalwere Lesser lammasu Rhaumbusun Fire toad

Uncommon: Cheetah Hawk Manticore Poisonous snake Giant scorpion Large scorpion Poisonous toad Wild horse

Very Rare: Bulette Djinni Jann Greater lammasu

the Endless Waste are small pockets of high valleys and plateaus. These are small oases in the midst of rugged terrain, providing pasture and cool relief from summer for the nomads of the steppe. Permanent dwellers also make their homes in these valleys, raising crops and animals on the heavily terraced slopes. Landforms: The name high meadows is a misleading term. It implies gently rolling land with lush fields. Foreign travelers are often surprised to learn the Katakoro is rugged, broken land of gravelly soil, rushing river chasms, mountain peaks, and terraced hillsides. Although the conditions are generally favorable, the plateau is still one of the highest on the Faerun-Kara-Tur continent and it is marked by many jagged upthrusts of rock. Aside from the massive mountains that ring the plateau, the most notable feature is the sudden slope from mountain to valley and the narrow, rocky gorges cut by the rivers. In these valleys conditions change dramatically, from windy and cold at the top to warm and lush at the bottom. The largest of these valleys is the KunYen Basin. Nestled at the foot of the Kun-Yen range, the basin is a slightly lower region of forest interspersed with dry plains. The ground rises abruptly to the south and west, more gently to the north. Eastward it slopes away along the channel cut by the Hungtse River.

The High Meadows Just as the steppe is home to tribes of nomadic horsemen, the meadows and tundra of the mountains support other nomadic tribes. Imagined by outsiders to be cold, wind-blasted, and frozen, the high mountain meadows are actually something else. Although they may be frozen and cold in winter, they are warm and green during the summer months, providing rich pastures and farmlands for the people and creatures of the mountains. Life among the clouds is still hard, but is far from impossible. Although mountains are abundant throughout the Endless Waste, there is only one region of major high plateau, the Katakoro. This is a roughly triangular area. The base is bounded by the jagged peaks of the Kun-Yen Shan. To the west are the A-Ling and Katakoro ranges; to the east is the Yellow Serpent Border Cliffs, that separate the plateau from Shou Lung. The escarpment meets the mountains to form a point at the northern end of the kingdom of Khazari. The Katakoro Plateau is not the only place where high meadows are found, although it is the largest. Elsewhere throughout the mountains of

Flora and Fauna: The high meadowlands are one of the richest areas in terms of plant and animal life; while there is variation from area to area, the Katakoro is typical of the high meadows.


Creatures Fair and Foul: Abundant game creates abundant predators and the Katakoro is also rich in strange and fantastic creatures. The list below provides typical monsters that might be encountered in the meadows and valleys of the Katakoro Plateau. Common: Black bear Herd animal (yaks, sheep, antelope) Lesser nature spirit Ogre Black porcupine Brown porcupine Vulture Wild boar (at lower elevations) Wild dog (at lower elevations) Wolf

In the Katakoro, the common plants are the short alpine grasses, stubby little plants that grow in clumps on the patches of fertile soil; alpine shrubs, twisted woody bushes; and carpets of moss and lichen. At slightly lower elevations throughout the same area, the grasses dominate. There are also blue poppies and gentian (white orchid-like blooms), and edible mushrooms. Further down, rhubarb, strawberries, wild roses, lotus, carnations, and even wild grapes grow. Stands of willow and poplar appear on the slopes. Valuable medicinal herbs can be found in this area. At the lowest levels of the Katakoro, apple and peach trees, walnuts, wild orchids, and, unique to this area, small stands of bamboo are not unknown. Of all the creatures of the high meadows, the most common and most important is the yak. Hulking, shaggy beasts with massive horns, the sure-footed yak is used for riding and hauling. It provides rich milk for butter and cheese, wool for cloth and ropes, and meat. Yak dung is burned for fuel, since firewood is scarce in many areas. Unable to live in the low valleys, the yak is only found in the higher regions of the meadowland. The yak is not the only creature of the Katakoro Plateau. There are many other beasts living at the different levels. At the higher reaches are snow leopards, lynxes, wild asses, foxes, goats, marmots, hares, mice, eagles, vultures, and grouse. Further down, among the trees, are musk deer, antelope, bears, dogs, tigers, wild boars, snakes, otters, owls, ducks, leopards, woodpeckers, honey bees, larks, storks, and porcupines. At the lowest levels, one can even find monkeys and parrots.

Uncommon: Badger Giant badger Bakemono (at lowest elevations) Large hawk Leopard (at lower elevations) Owl Poisonous snake (at lowest elevations) Giant porcupine (at lower elevations) Tiger (at lower elevations) Wild horse Rare: Asperi (above the treeline) Behir Bhaergala (at lowest elevation) Chiang lung (near rivers) Common oni Eagle Giant eagle Falcon Giant lynx (at highest elevation) Goblin spider Hsing-sing (at lowest elevation) Hu hsien (near settlements) Li lung Greater nature spirit Giant owl Rakshasa (near settlements) Eastern vampire (near settlements) White dragon (above treeline)


Very Rare: Bisan (at lower elevations) Displacer beast (at lower elevations) Ogre mage (near settlements) Talking owl Greater rakshasa (near settlements) Giant vulture Weretiger (at lower elevations) Yeti (only during winter)

Terra Putura While the steppes, plains, and meadows provide the homeland for the majority of people living on the Endless Waste, there are other areas of great importance to them. These include forests, salt licks, seasonal wells, and even caves. These lands are not considered home to most of the nomads. Instead they are territories to be hunted and used as the occasion demands. On the steppe, each tribe has a recognized range, a claim to a region as their grazing ground. These other lands, the forests and the like, are the resource of everyone. These lands are used by all to support their tribes and families, the terra putura.

The Forests

of the Hagga Shan, protected from the frostbitten winds off the Yal Tengri. Rainfall and melting snow from the mountains water this forest, but the few rivers coming from it fade into the steppe. The land here is less swampy than the thick, lush growth of the Ama. The second forest, the Shalhoond, curves in an arc around the northern face of Gbor Nor (Brightstar Lake). Watered by runoff from the Khopet-Dag Mountains (Spiderhaunt Peaks) and the wet winds from the south, the forests of Shalhoond are thick and rich with life. The warm winter weather and abundant game make this region one of the favored winter homelands of the wandering tribes.

Second only in importance to the steppe for the survival of men and animals are the forests of the Endless Waste. These provide shelter from the biting winter, wood for the frames of yurts, birch bark for baskets, and food for game the hunters need. While the steppe provides most of the nomad’s needs, their lives would not be complete without the resources the great forests provide. The forests that skirt the Endless Waste are separated from each other by great distances of steppe and desert. The largest and most notable of these is the Ama Basin, beyond the Chigiogi Mountains. Bounded on the west by the Ulhai Shan, the Ama forest spills out onto the Plain of Horses at the gap between the two ranges. Eastward, it reaches all the way to the Celestial Sea and north it stretches to the everfrozen Land of the Snow Demons. Running down the center of the Ama Basin is a broad area of swampy lowland, which roughly forms the forest into a large horseshoe shape. The two other significant forests are much smaller in extent. One nestles at the eastern base

Landforms: Geographically, the forests of the Endless Waste divide into two types—the cold, swampy woods of the Ama Basin and the dry woodlands of Hagga Shan and Shalhoond. These differences appear minor, but affect the plants, animals, and dwellers of these forests. The forest of the Ama Basin occupies the outer edges of a huge drainage system. Fast-flowing streams, fed by rainfall and melting snow, run out of the Chigiogi and Hagga Shan to form into larger rivers. These tumble out of the slopes but then suddenly slow down as the ground levels out rapidly. Twice a year the rivers flood, once during the spring rains and later in the summer when the snows on the high peaks suddenly melt. Then the tumbling rivers turn into roaring floods that sweep out of the mountains and overrun their banks in the lowlands. Large areas of ground are flooded under feet of water or transformed into swampy bogs. From the north comes a different set of rivers, meandering across the flatter plain of the tundra.


quickly descends to the surrounding plain, they drain away. Many actually disappear before ever leaving the confines of the forest, while others sink underground on the dry lands of the steppe. Climate: Because of the great distances between the forest of Shalhoond and those of the Hagga Shan and Ama Basin, the weather conditions between the two groups are vastly different. The forests of the Hagga Shan and Ama Basins are very similar in their climate conditions. Their seasons are regulated by the cold, northern winds blown off the ice pack and tundra. These winds drive winter temperatures drop into the negatives for weeks on end. Even snowfall is rare, as the air is too dry and cold for any to fall. In the brief warming periods, fierce blizzards often strike, the wet snow lashed by the driving winds that come from the north, the land of the Snow Demons. These can last for several days, covering the land in an impenetrable pall of white. Spring is late incoming and is often interrupted by sudden and surprising snowstorms. However, once the weather warms, change happens quickly. The snow melts, aided by thunderstorms, to raise the level of water in the rivers. Temperatures at night can still drop below freezing, but in general the weather becomes noticeably warmer and more pleasant. The spring leads into a short but mild summer. Rain is infrequent, but the heavy showers of spring make up for this. Although the days can become quite warm, the nights are still cool and comfortable. Fall is brief, almost nonexistent. At first the weather is pleasant summer and in the next instant the leaves have fallen and the bitter wind begins to blow. There is only a short period of autumn and even this is marred by the gray rains that transform the ground to cold mud. Before this has had time to dry, the freezing winter returns. To the south, in the Shalhoond, the weather is no less extreme, although tilted in the other direction. Winters are cold, though nowhere near as bitter as the biting chill of the north. The cold winds that sweep across the steppe from the north are moderated by warmer winds blowing from Gbor Nor and the south. The springtime enters with less violence and lasts longer. It is in summertime when the true extremes are felt. The

These rivers, frozen and sluggish in winter, flow more quickly in summer as the surface snow and ice melts. The water, blocked by the permafrost underneath it, slowly drains into the sluggish rivers that wend southward. Lined by soft, marshy banks, these enter the forests and eventually drain into the Ama Basin. At the heart of the Ama Basin is the Ama River, the destination of all the water draining from north to south. Although sometimes lost in the myriad channels of the swampland, the river eventually finds its way to the Yellow Sea. Beginning in the upper reaches of the mountains the Ama is a broad, slow-flowing river, fed by the lesser rivers from mountain and tundra. in spring it floods, filling the bogs around it for another year. In summer it dwindles, leaving sandbars and hidden snags as hazards to travel. During the winter the surface freezes over in a sheet of solid ice, transforming the Ama into a highway for the tribes who dwell in the forests. As a result of all this drainage and flooding, the forested lands of the Ama basin are a mixture of wet and dry. Interspersed throughout the forest are lowland areas of soft ground or peatlike bog. During spring many of these areas are covered by standing water, turning them into impassable swamp. At such times, the forested hillocks become lonely islands separated by bands of halfsubmerged brambles. The forests of Hagga Shan and Shalhoond are much different. Here the land is dryer, but much more rugged. The forests cover the lower slopes of the mountains, filling the steeply-angled valleys. Rivers rushing down from the peaks cut sharp, narrow valleys, each river separated from the others by knifelike ridges. As the water 120

temperature can be scorchingly hot for days on end, sometimes humid and sometimes dry. With fall the temperature once again becomes moderate. The fall season lasts for a month or more. Forest Average Rainfall/Temperature Month Hammer Alturiak Ches Tarsakh Mirtul Kythorn Flamerule Eleasias Eleint Marpenoth* Uktar Nightal * *

North Temp./Rain 0/3” 5/3.5” 15/2.5” 35/2” 50/1.5” 60/l” 70/.5” 60/.25” 50/.5” 30/1” 15/1” 5/1.5”

South Temp. / Rain 25/2” 35/1.75” 50/2.5” 60/2.25” 75/1.25” 90/.5” 85/.25” 75/0 70/.25” 60/1” 45/1.5” 30/2”

* * Winter snowfall in south begins; ends in Alturiak

* Winter snowfall in north begins; ends in Tarsakh


Flora and Fauna: All the forests of the Endless Waste are rich with life. Like climate, the wildlife of the forests is divided between north and south. In the north, the forests are thicker, a virtue of the abundant rainfall. Dense groves of birch, elm, and larch cover the shallow slopes. The trunks

Northern Forests Common: Black bear (hibernates in winter) Giant centipede Huge centipede Herd animal Lesser nature spirit Owl Black porcupine Brown porcupine Skunk Huge spider Large spider Water beetle * Wild boar Wolf

are thick with fungi and the forest floor is covered with a thick mat of moss. In the open spaces between the groves are thick patches of brush, willow, and berry bushes. Living in these forests are a host of creatures. During the winter, reindeer come down from the north to shelter in the groves. Following them are bears, wolves, and tigers. Deer, roe deer, moose, boar, foxes, and wolverines can all be found. Ermine and sable are avidly sought after for their valuable pelts. The rivers are filled with trout and salmon. The southern forest of Shalhoond has an equal, though different, variety. The principal trees here are pines, birch, and aspen. There is little marshy ground and the forest floor is more open. Steppe and prairie grasses grow in the open areas. Wildlife is abundant, both game and predators. There are musk deer, wolves, mountain goats, foxes, snow leopards, porcupines, hawks, eagles, deer, badgers, and occasionally tigers. Numerous game birds either live in or migrate through the Shalhoond—ducks, geese, pheasants, and quail. Hunters from the steppe regularly pass through the Ejen Horo to bag the game of the Shalhoond.

Uncommon: Badger Bakemono Brown bear (hibernates in winter) Cave bear (hibernates in winter) Brown pudding* Giant carp * Giant hornet (hibernates in winter) Hobgoblin Large hawk Leech swarm * Merrow * Ogre Pony Giant porcupine Giant water spider* Tiger Water naga * Wild weasel Wild dog Wild horse Wolverine

Creatures Fair and Foul: In addition to game and hunting animals, the forests of the Endless Waste also support a large variety of dangerous monsters. Offsetting their attractiveness. Intelligent creatures may build strongholds or secure bases. These are particularly important for those groups living on forest/steppe borders, where raids and yearly migrations by nomads must be resisted.

Rare: Ankheg Chiang lung Common oni Crystal ooze * Eagle Falcon Giant lynx (active in winter) Giant pike * Goblin spider


Cave Kala (active in winter) Earth Kala (active in winter) Greater nature spirit Nixie * Giant owl Treant (dormant in winter) Giant weasel Werebear Dire wolf Giant wolverine Yu lung* Very Rare: Greenhag* Ki-rin Ogre mage Weretiger Winter wolf (active in winter)

Leopard Giant porcupine Stirge Tiger Troll Wild weasel Wyvern

* Found only in summertime on the lakes, rivers and swamps of the Ama Basin.

Terra Damnata

South Forest Common: Bats Giant centipede Huge centipede Herd animal Lesser nature spirit Ogre Orc Owl Black porcupine Brown porcupine Skunk Huge spider Giant spider Large spider Stag beetle Wild boar Wolf

Rare: Belabra Chimera Copper dragon Eagle Falcon Giant wasp Hill giant Jackalwere Greater nature spirit Owl bear Giant owl Treant Giant weasel Dire wolf

Uncommon: Badger Lesser basilisk Cockatrice Firestar Goblin Hobgoblin Large hawk

Very Rare: Great basilisk Green dragon Shan sao Weretiger

In every continent there are lands too harsh to live in. To some foreigners this description fits the entire Endless Waste. Certainly it is a harsh land with its hot summers and cold winters, but it is not unlivable. There are worse places than the steppe, lands that are entirely too hot, too dry, or too cold. The greatest of these are the Quoya and Raurin Deserts and the Yehimal.

The Deserts Although the steppe may look like a desert, it is far from the real thing. That distinction is left to other areas of the wasteland; the Quoya, a broad oval of territory separating Shou Lung from the steppe, and the Raurin Desert, south of Semphar and the Raurinshield mountains. In both places, the rugged plain gives way to the even dryer and more rugged plain of the desert. Reaching almost to the Chigiogi Mountains in the north and the Katakoro Shan in the south, the Quoya forms a natural barrier between east and west. For centuries it has served to isolate the barbarians of the steppe from the influence of Shou Lung. Yet at the same time, its oases and trails have provided a highway for invaders to ride into the rich lands of the East. It is bleak and barren and yet filled with hidden pockets of life.


and circular pans of rock-hard clay only add to the variety of the land. Rivers are nonexistent in this area. Only dry gullies for occasional run-off exist. Most of these disappear beneath the surface. What few pools of open water can be found are ringed by white crust-a sign the water is too rich with salts and minerals to drink. Climate: The Quoya is a land of temperature extremes. Far enough north that it is chilled by the icy blasts of winter, the Quoya has so little rain that it is baked by the sun in summer. Temperatures have ranged as low as -40 degrees in winter to 130 degrees on the hottest days of summer. Light snows that blanket the ground are the main source of moisture—virtually no rain falls in summer and fall. The Raurin is no better a place to live. Although the temperatures do not swing to such extremes between summer and winter, the Raurin stays more consistently hot and, if at all possible, has less rain than the Quoya. Another notable feature of the Raurin is the garmsil, a powerful windstorm that sometimes strikes during the summer months. The garmsil blows generally to the southeast. It’s a very dry and hot wind, normally raising temperatures to 120 degrees or slightly more. The wind speed is normally 20 to 25 miles per hour. As a result, the garmsil is a scorching sandstorm. It normally lasts for no more than a few hours to a day, but

The Raurin Desert is a more formidable obstacle. It is scorchingly hot and dry with scarce oases. Few caravans cross it. Most merchants prefer the easier routes along its edges—through Semphar, along Gbor Nor to Myrgham or south, in the shadow of the A-Ling Shan to the ports of the Golden Water. Landforms: While the Quoya is undoubtedly a desert, the sweeping sand dunes associated with deserts are rare here. The majority of the land is rock or hard-baked clay. Bluffs of crumbling limestone and steep-sided gullies gouge the landscape. There are many caves, hollows, and shelters in the soft stone. The gullies are dry watercourses, only becoming rushing streams during the short rainy season. The soil is gravelly, mixed with clay. Swirling wind kicks this into frequent dust storms, sending stinging particles of grit whirling through the skies. There are areas of dunes, undulating hills of yellow sand. Often these rise alongside large stretches of salt flats where little grows. At the heart of the Quoya is the surprising Merket Oasis. This is a large, sunken valley, well below sea level, surrounded by steep mountains. Many of the temporary rivers drain into this hollow, providing a source of water for irrigation. The Raurin Desert, or Dust Desert, is an entirely different type of desert. Sand, blown into towering dunes, is common, along with areas of eroded, round hills. These are cut with gullies and terraced with bands of strata of pinks, reds, and browns. Salt crystallizes on the surface, leaving the impression of snow-capped hills and plains. There are occasional patches of ancient lava, now weirdly weathered into bizarre shapes. Sinkholes

Desert Average Rainfall/Temperature Month Hammer Alturiak Ches Tarsakh Mirtul Kythorn Flamerule Eleasias Eleint Marpenoth Uktar Nightal


Quoya Temp. / Rain 20/ .5” 30/ .5” 50/ .5” 65/ .5” 75/ .5” 85/ .25” 80/ .25” 75/0 65/0 50/0 40/ .5” 25/ .5”

Raurin Temp./Rain 30/ .5” 40/ .5” 45/ .5” 55/.5” 70/ .25” 80/0 90/0 85/0 80/0 60/ .25” 45/ .5” 40/ .5”

on rare occasions the garmsil will blow for three, four, or even seven days without stopping. Only a few hours of this wind is sufficient to strip the leaves off scrub trees and ruin the cotton and fruit of oases. Flora and Fauna: Even under the worst conditions, some creatures manage to thrive. There is life in the deserts of the Endless Waste, although it is restricted to the immediate surroundings of the few desert oases. The plants found in each desert tend to be the same, although they may vary in minor details. Most common is an extremely hardy desert grass. This seldom grows more than a short stubble, but seems to survive anywhere there is the slightest moisture, even in the deadly salt pans. Sagebrush, toadstools, saxaul trees, camel-hair bushes, even poppies and tulips struggle to grow. Some only have short life spans, surging forth after the infrequent rains. At the Merket Depression and other oases there is more variety. The Merket is famed for its sweet melons and vineyards. Other oasis plants include peaches, cotton, tamarisk, willow, poplar, iris, and reeds. These small waterholes are islands of life in the dry heat. Of desert creatures, none is more important than the bactrian camel— two-humped and shaggy. Its ability to survive without water is wellknown, but it can also withstand the extremes of desert temperatures, the seasonal changes from 100+ degrees to winter lows far below zero. Other normal beasts include lizards, rats, mice, hawks, sheep (near oases), vipers, sand cats, foxes, vultures, jackals, scorpions, even tortoises.

However, the creatures are drawn to the water and life. Thus, around each waterhole there is a belt of dangerous creatures, a zone where encounters are more frequent and hostile. Common: Bat Camel Giant centipede Huge centipede Jackal Lesser nature spirit (Quoya only) Ogre Huge scorpion Huge spider Vulture Uncommon: Giant bat Cockatrice Large hawk Manticore Giant scorpion Large scorpion Rare: Huge bat Behir Brass dragon (Raurin only) Common oni (Quoya only) Dao (Raurin only) Falcon Fire toad Firenewt (Raurin only) Giant strider (Raurin only) Hill giant Jackalwere (Raurin only)

Creatures Fair and Foul: The desert wastelands, perhaps because they are wastelands, are home to many fantastic and dangerous creatures. With so little to eat, the number of predators is far higher than normal. Likewise, their determination and savagery tends to be great. Creatures tend to be solitary or organized into small groups. The monsters also tend to congregate around the oases. Normally, the actual oases are carefully patrolled and fiercely defended by their owners, keeping dangerous creatures outside.


which include the Yehimal, Kun-Yen Shan, A-Ling Shan, and Katakoro Shan; there are the rugged and dry ranges —the Dustwall, Raurin Alta, Teyla Shan, Khopet-Dag, and the Kora Shan. Finally there are the wooded mountains of the Ulhai Shan, Hagga Shan, and Chigiogi Mountains. Landforms: While all mountain ranges are filled with tall and rugged peaks, not all mountain ranges are alike. The high peaks of the Yehimal are very high—anywhere from 15,000 feet to an astounding 30,000 feet. (Chomolungma, Mount Everest, is 29,198 feet high.) These mountains are jagged, made of folded and upthrust granite. The peaks of the dry ranges are substantially lower, varying from 13,000 feet to 25,000 feet. The mountains here are steep sided, but slightly more weathered than the Yehimal. Small glaciers gouge out the slopes of granite and shale. Finally, there are the lowest and oldest mountains of all—the woodlands of the north. These peaks range from 9,000 to 17,000 feet in height. The slopes are smoother and the peaks tend to be more rounded, although these mountains are by no means easy to scale or cross.

Lammasu (Raurin only) Pyrolisk Rhaumbusun (Quoya only) Sand boa (Raurin only) Sand cat Sandling Thri-kreen Very Rare: Blue dragon (Raurin only) Megalo-centipede Djinn (Raurin only) Dragonne Efreeti (Raurin only) Fire lizard Jann (Raurin only) Lamia (Raurin only) Ogre mage (Quoya only)

Climate: All the mountains are cold, freezing lands; it’s only a matter of how cold and freezing. Clearly, the highest ranges are the worse. The air is thin and cannot hold warmth. Powerful winds rage through the peaks. Misty clouds wrap around the upper slopes, adding to the chill. Snows are actually light, because the wind is too strong and the air too bitter to hold much moisture. Howling windstorms that last for days are a grave danger to travel in the high peaks. In the dry mountains, the weather is little better. Snowfalls are significantly heavier (up to 65 inches in a year). The wooded mountains accumulate the most snow, 120 inches or more in a single year. Fierce blizzards can close in on hundreds of square miles and last for days, making travel all but impossible. The table below lists the average temperature and rainfall among the inhospitable peaks of the mountains. For conditions in the many valleys and low areas, use the temperature ranges given in the section describing mountain meadows.

The Mountains Certainly the most majestic sights in all the Endless Waste are those of the towering, glacierclad peaks of the Yehimal—“Rock-Snow,” or Mountains of Snow. Perhaps the tallest mountains of the known world, the Yehimal dominate the southeast portion of the Endless Waste, dividing the steppes from the ancient kingdoms of the southern lands. The Yehimal is not a single range, nor are the ranges that compose it the only mountain ranges. Many others exist: the Dustwall, A-Ling Shan, Kun-Yen Shan, Katakoro Shan, Raurin Alta, Teyla Shan, Khopet-Dag, Kora Shan, Hagga Shan, the Firepeaks, the Chigiogi Mountains, the Mountains of Copper, and Ulhai Shan. The ranges of the wasteland can be divided into three general groups. There are the high peaks 126

Mountain Average Rainfall/Temperature Month Hammer Alturiak Ches Tarsakh Mirtul Kythorn Flamerule Eleasias Eleint Marpenoth Uktar Nightal

High -30/.5 -20/1 -15/1 - 10/ .5 10/ 1.5 25/2 30/2 25/1 10/ .5 0/.5 -10/1 -20/.5

Dry -5/2.5 0/3 5/3.5 15/3 20/3 25/1.5 40/.75 50/.5 15/.75 5/3 -5/3.5 -5/3

Wooded -10/3 -5/3 10/4 25/4 30/3 35/2 40/1 45/1 20/1 0/4 -5/3 -10/4

Rare: Asperii (Yehimal only) Common oni (not in dry mountains) Copper dragon (not in Yehimal) Giant eagle Wild eagle Falcon Goblin spider Greater nature spirit Li lung (not in dry mountains) Roc (dry mountains only) Stone giant Urd

Flora and Fauna: Of normal creatures and plants, the mountain peaks have few. While the valleys are often rich with life, the bare rock, bitter cold, constant winds, and thin air of the high altitudes provide little support for growth. Most of the plants are beds of mosses and lichens. Above 17,000 feet (approximately), nothing grows. Creatures Fair and Foul: While normal beasts are rare, the highest mountain peaks are the home and sanctuary to a number of specialized monsters. Most of these creatures make their lairs at the high altitudes, going down into the valleys to hunt. Such creatures often use the cover of blizzards and snowstorms to avoid discovery.

Very Rare: Aarakocra Cloud giant Galeb duhr Giant vulture Humanoid gargantua (not in dry mountains) Ki-rin (not in dry mountains) Ogre mage Go-zu, oni (Yehimal only) Me-zu, oni (Yehimal only) Red dragon (dry mountains only) T’ien lung (Yehimal only) Yeti (Yehimal only) Yuki-no-ona (wooded mountains only)

Common: Mountain sheep Vulture Yak Uncommon: Cave bear Gargoyle (dry mountains only) Large hawk Lesser nature spirit Snow leopard (Yehimal only) Tagamaling buso (Chigiogi only) Tigbanua buso (Chigiogi only) Yak (not found in wooded mountains)

The Arctic Plain The last major land type of the Endless Waste is the one that is best described by that name. Far to the north, it is the great expanse of arctic tundra. It has many names—land of the howling spirits, land of the snow beasts, even the frozen god. It is second only to the peaks of the Yehimal as the most inhospitable place in the world.


Tundra Average Rainfall/Temperature Month Hammer Alturik Ches Tarsakh Mirtul Kythorn Flamerule Eleasias Eleint Marpenoth Uktar Nightal

Landforms: The arctic plain is flat, pure and simple. Stretching from the northern edges of the Ama forests, it is first a land of meandering rivers and extensive bogs. Moving further north, the permafrost creeps closer and closer to the surface, until at last the plain is a solid sheet of frozen land. There are occasional hills and even areas of volcanic steam vents, but even these are low and worn down by the erosive effects of ice and water.

Temp -60 -45 -25 14 45 60 65 55 45 5 -35 -60

Rain .25” .5” .25” .25” .5” 1.5” 2” 1.5” 1” 1” .5” .25”

Flora and Fauna: Although it seems incredible, there are creatures native to the tundra which have managed to adapt to the extreme conditions of the land. Animals that can be found here include reindeer, arctic fox, hare, muskrat, ermine, and polar bear. Along the coasts are seal, walrus, and sea otter. Plants are sparse. Stunted trees only grow in the southern reaches, stretching a little further northward along the warm, eastern coast. The majority of the tundra is made of short grasses, sedge, and moss.

Climate: To say that the far north is cold is an understatement. For five months out of the year, the average temperature is below zero, and has been known to dip as low as -90 degrees. For seven months, it is below freezing. During this time snow fall is slight, as the air is too cold and dry to pick up much moisture. In the five months of above-freezing temperatures, the temperature normally stays in the 40s to 50s, but has risen to as much as 90 degrees! Summer comes on quickly, so that there is almost no spring; the temperature rises above freezing in only a matter of days. During the brief days of summer, the ground quickly turns into a morass of spongy mud, the melting ice trapped on the surface by the layer of permafrost underneath. Fall is equally brief and is marked by sudden snowstorms that can catch the unwary by surprise.

Creatures Fair and Foul: The arctic plain is home to a small number of solitary predators. Many of these follow the migratory patterns of the other animals— reindeer in particular.


Common: Herd animal (reindeer) Ogre Wolf

Uncommon: Lesser nature spirit Wolverine

Rare: Giant wolverine Hill giant Ice toad Cave kala Earth kala Polar bear Werebear White dragon White pudding

Very Rare: Cryohydra Frost giant Ogre mage Remorhaz Greater seawolf Lesser seawolf Selkie Winter wolf Yuki-on-na

Key to Khazari/ Ra-Khati House The map is of a typical peasant house of Ra-Khati or Khazari. The walls are made of flat stones, mortared together with clay. Interior walls are made of thin wood. Most of the floors and the lower part of the walls are covered with red mud. Doors and windows are narrow shutters that close tightly to keep out cold and snow. The panels of these are often carved or painted with protective holy symbols. 1. Winter Kitchen During the cold months of winter, this room is the center of the house. Unlike other areas, the floor here is made of wood for extra warmth. The room is dominated by a large stone or tin stove set near the front windows. This is used for cooking and to warm the room. When the snows are on the ground, the family spends most of its time in this room. 2. Larder Food items are kept in this room for use in daily cooking: flour, barley, rice, oil, butter, dried meat, and jars of pickled and preserved vegetables. A water barrel is kept in this room. The larder can also be used for sleeping if there are many visitors. 3. Stable Every family that can afford it includes a small number of animals in its household. These include chickens, pigs, goats, sheep, yaks, and cows. Because of their importance, these animals are brought in from the fields every night. During winter, the animals spend most of the season in their stable. Household firewood is stacked along the back wall. 4. Summer Kitchen During the warmer months, cooking is done in this room, away from the rest of the house. The floor here is earth. In addition to cooking, some families also set up small stills to brew a potent liquor. 5. Storage This room is used to hold a wide variety of household goods, mostly pots and baskets. During summer, much of the larder is moved to this room for ease in cooking. 6. Guest Room The guest room is one of the finest in the house. The family receives visitors here, spending the time talking and sitting. At night, beds are made and the guests sleep here. Like other rooms, the floor here is a thin layer of dried red mud, daubed over the wooden floor. 7. Family Bedroom This is the main sleeping area for the family. The entire family sleeps in a single room, especially during wintertime. The beds are small, and space is cramped. In addition to the sleeping mats, there are chests for clothing and personal items. 8. Terrace This section is unroofed and can be reached by the staircase coming up from below. During summertime, many of the family activities are done on the terrace in the warm sun.

9. Work Area This room is open to the terrace, providing adequate light for those working here. Inside might be a loom, wood carver’s table, potter’s wheel, or basketweaver’s materials. 10. Summertime Sleeping Area or Storage During warm months, the family moves its beds from the warm and dark bedroom on the first floor to this room, which is much cooler and better ventilated. The floor here is wood, covered with mud. On hot nights, the shuttered windows to the terrace are opened, allowing cool breezes and bugs to get in. 11. Family Shrine Every household has a special room set aside for the family’s altar, the thin dhan. Here the family makes personal offerings to their ancestors and to the gods. The shrine is used only on special occasions or to make a special offering to avert bad luck. Because of the sacred purpose of the room, only family members are allowed in here. The room is divided into two sections. The back half is a raised platform, holding the altar and other precious objects. The walls of the front half are lined with storage chests, holding the family’s grain supply. The floor of the room is either mud-coated wood or, in wealthier houses, carpeted with reed mats. 12. Grain Storage This room contains most of the family’s supply of grain: rice, barley, millet, and even wheat. This is a measure of the family’s wealth, since grain is so important to daily life. 13. Rooftop The wide, flat roof of the house is used for many activities. After harvest, grain is threshed and dried here. Wood gathered by the family is stacked along the outer walls for use in winter. Children play here. Men make new tools and repair old ones. The roof is normally made of wood, covered with a thick layer of dried mud. This is carefully sloped to drain water off the roof. 14. Tool Shed The open-front shed is used to store the farm tools of the family. By placing these on the roof, the farmer discourages theft. 15. Tool Shed and Sleeping Quarters This room is used for storing smaller tools and to provide a private sleeping area when needed. Households that have a servant or field hand use this room as the servant’s quarters. If necessary, the servant can be stranded on the roof by removing the pole ladder. This will keep him from running away. 16. Meat Shed Dried and cured meats are a staple of many families. This room is used to prepare and store them. The rafters are hung with sausages, strips of dried meat, and salted hams. Clay pots on the floor hold corned meats and others packed in salt. 17. Ladder to the Rooftop Every inch of the house is put to use. This ladder leads to the narrow roof over the sheds. More firewood is stacked here for use during winter.

Key to the Horseshoe Temple All the caves are carved from red sandstone. The carving is, unless otherwise noted, very simple and unadorned. Furnishings throughout the temple are quite simple. Once things were kept scrupulously clean, but since the arrival of the oni many of the chambers are cluttered with filth. This key does not provide a complete adventure. In particular, the tactics of the oni and the behavior of the goblins have been left for the DM to create. The key describes the original purpose of each room and its current occupant, if any. 1. The Grand Stairs The ground in front of the entire cave face has been carved into a staircase. This ends in a terrace just outside the cave mouths. Once statues lined the stair on either side, but now many have been shattered. The broken remains still lay where they fell. 2-10. The Grottoes of the Nine Sages These caves were once the shrines to the Nine Sacred Sages of the Path. Each cave has a statue of the sage, set facing the doorway where possible. These caves have been given over to the goblins. The nine sages, ordered according to the matching cave number, are: 2 Chou Zhiangpen the Lame 3 Ta-wan, the Little Holy Man 4 Tai Hsueh-chi, the White-Boned Healer 5 Li Chih-wu of Cham Fao 6 Yao Tsung-i the Swordbreaker 7 P’eng Khaisan the Barbarian 8 Hung Te Ping the Scholar 9 Hsiao Tzu-chi, the Grand Advisor 10 Princess Pieh-chi 11. Hall of the Enlightened One This cave contains statues of the three incarnations of the Enlightened One. The heads of the statues are shattered, and the frescoes have been defaced. A small altar to Li Pei now sits on the dais. 12. Private Altar This was a small, dark room used for making personal offerings and prayers. The oni have heaped their refuse in here. 13. The Gallery of Statues Carved into the wall along this catwalk are niches containing statues of various incarnations and sages. 14. The Sutra Library This hall contains the large prayer wheels used by the priests. The wheels are mounted on posts that reach from floor to ceiling. A pair of oni have taken up residence in this room. 15. Hall of the Water Buffalo This hall is dedicated to Yampa, the holy water buffalo who carried the Enlightened One to the realms of perfection. A large statue of the beast dominates the back wall. Two more oni live here.

16-17. Halls of Life and Death These two chambers contained the collection of masks and ceremonial clothing used by the priests on certain holy days. Now, the rooms are in complete disarray. Most of the masks are broken or stolen, along with the clothes. One oni has made his bed here. 18. Cave of Tranquil Peace This seldom visited hall contains the bones of previous abbots, carefully stacked in niches. The oni have painted protective charms (to Li Pei) in the halls connecting to this cave. They will not enter willingly, since they are afraid of the power the dead abbots might possess. 19. The Lesser Hall of Perfect Understanding This was once used as the abbots quarters. It is now the den of Halbasho the Smart, leader of the oni. 20. The Great Horseshoe Chamber This huge chamber is dominated by a giant statue of Hung Te Ping. In front of it is the rock his horse struck. The room radiates a good aura, and the oni will not enter here. 21. The Hall of Contemplation This interior hall contains more niches filled with statues and carved scripture. 22-24. Residence Halls These were living chambers for the priests. One oni has moved into each of the numbered rooms. 25. The Sleeping Statue Carved into a shelf on the cliff face is this immense statue of the Enlightened One in a sleeping pose. 26-30. Residence Halls These incomplete chambers were quarters to the priests. There are two oni on this level, and one is supposedly serving as a lookout at all times.

Oni: NA 10, AC 4, MV 9, HD 8, THAC0 13, #AT 2, D 310/3-10, AL LE Goblins: MA 27, AC 7, MV 6, HD 1-1, THAC0 20, #AT 1, D 1-6, AL NG ©1990 TSR, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Key to the Khan’s Camp

are given the great honor of setting their yurts nearest to the khan’s.

The khan’s camp is an example of the standard arrangement of yurts at the ordu of an important khan. The placement of the yurts is dictated by custom and superstition and varies little from ordu to ordu and tribe to tribe. The map shows only the core of the ordu, the yurts of the khan, and the surrounding nobles. In such a large ordu, there are many other yurts outside this circle. These would be the yurts of the common people, those ruled by the khan and his nobles.

H. Yurt

A. The Tying Place of the Lesser Nobles This area, at the front of the khan’s compound, is where the least important nobles leave their animals—horses, camels, and the like. The lesser nobles are not allowed to bring animals any further than this point. B. The Tying Place of the Envoys This small row is where the mounts of visiting nobles are left when consulting the khan. This tying place is slightly closer to the khan’s yurt, an honor which places envoys at a higher status than the lesser nobles. C. The Council Ground In front of the khan’s yurt is a large oval of packed earth. At its center is a large bonfire space. This area is used for important ceremonies and for the grand councils of the ordu. D. Muster Grounds These areas are used as assembly areas for the khan’s bodyguard. During councils, servants, bodyguards, and aides fill these areas. E. Bodyguards These yurts are set aside for the bodyguards of the khan. Typically there are 2 to 12 men in or around each yurt at all times. F. Tying Place of the Great Nobles This honored space is where the important nobles—uncles, brothers, and sons—of the khan are allowed to leave their animals. Since this is just outside the khan’s ground, it is a great honor to tie one’s horse here. G. Yurts of the Loyal Noyan These yurts belong to the most important and trusted noyans of the khan. These nobles are charged with protecting the khan, advising him in councils, and commanding his troops in armies. These noyans

the Spirit-Master

If there is a powerful shaman in the ordu, he is allowed to set his yurt just outside the circle of loyal noyan. For shamans, who are not usually trusted, this is a sign of great respect. I. The Family Yurts These yurts are home to the wives and children of the khan. The yurt to the east is that of the first wife. The other yurt is for the khan’s concubines. The children live in the yurt of their mother. J. The Treasure Yurt Whatever valuable possessions the khan has are kept in this yurt. A wooden fence surrounds the yurt. There are always five guards stationed around the yurt. The door to the yurt is laced shut with red cord, and symbols are inscribed around the outside to ward off intruders. There may be magical protections cast on or built into the yurt. K. The Khan’s Ground Encircling the khan’s yurt is a carefully cleared area, forbidden to all but the khan, his family, his guests, and his bodyguard. Not even the most important nobles are allowed inside this radius without the khan’s permission. Transgressors are often beaten for their crime. L. The Khan’s Yurt The largest yurt of the compound is that of the khan. It is his home and his court. In addition to eating and sleeping here, the khan receives officials, hears complaints, passes judgments, and does all the other things required of a khan. M. The Offering Ground This special place is used for making the necessary offerings to the spirits of the north. If these powerful spirits are not placated, they will bring evil luck and death to the ordu. One of the khan’s important duties is to preside over the offerings. N. The Yurt of Snow Spirits Unlike all the other yurts, which face southeast, this one faces to the northwest. The yurt is sacred, dedicated to the snow spirits. A wicket fence hung with iron charms surrounds this yurt. The yurt is blackened with charcoal and decorated with cham figures-symbolic protective spirits. The yurt is empty and never used. It is considered to be an evil place, a yurt given to the evil spirits so they will leave the rest of the ordu alone.

©1999 TSR, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Key to Manass Manass is the smallest of the Five Great Cities of Khazari, which, as cities go, are not amazingly impressive. As the smallest, Manass is little more than a fortified town. The walls surrounding the city are well maintained. They stand 30 feet high and are wide enough at the top for several soldiers to walk abreast. Spaced along the length are towers that overhang the walls. With their tiled roofs and broad, flaring eaves, these lend a grandeur to the city’s fortifications. 1. The Boyla’s Court This large outdoor courtyard is the heart of Manass. Here public pronouncements are made, executions carried out, prisoners tortured, and important festivals celebrated. The governor’s bodyguard, the elite troops of the city, stand guard along the edges of the plaza. 2. Temple of the Yellow Mountain Facing the courtyard is a large temple compound devoted to the Yellow Mountain Sect of the Path of Enlightenment. Most of the people in the city profess a belief in the sect. However, as is the custom of the Khazari, few visit the temple except on holy days, when making special prayers, or to observe the death of a relative. Inside the temple are 27 shukenja of the Yellow Mountain. They are assisted by 45 sohei. Dongzhei Nangpo is the master of the temple. The Yellow Mountain Sect is a strong supporter of the current governor of Manass, Sanjar al-Mulik, at least so long as he gives them special privileges and protections. They have been known to attack rival temples without drawing the ire of the governor, a sure sign of their favored status. 3. The Governor’s Palace This is the home and offices of Sanjar al-Mulik, governor of Manass. Although it seems somewhat run down and seedy, the palace is considered luxurious by the locals. In comparison to their homes, the governor’s house is palatial. Attached to the palace are the barracks of the governor’s bodyguard. There are always 100 men present in the barracks and another 100 men on guard around the palace and Boyla’s court. 4. The Drum Tower This elaborate structure, with black-tile roof, red beams, and gleaming brass fittings, is the alarm system of the city. Standing three stories tall, there is a huge drum suspended from the rafters on the third floor. This drum is used to call out the militia, sound the fire alarm, announce special proclamations, and signal any emergency that may arise. At the bottom of the tower is the small house of the Master of the Drum, the official in charge of beating out all alarms. 5. The Marketplace This is the central market of Manass. Here player characters can find most everyday goods they will need. 6. Fountain of Happiness Inn Next to the Jade Gate is the largest inn of Manass, the Fountain of Happiness. The inn includes a large courtyard and stable for housing animals of caravans and several separate guest houses grouped around a small garden done in the Shou Lung style. The inn caters mainly to the caravan trade. Thus, it is both extremely well protected and a favorite target of thieves. The innkeeper, Ba Salnang, is on very good terms with the governor. He also gives free meals to the gate guards, thus making sure they keep a watchful eye on his establishment. 7. Shrine to Tsikapasmatra This is a small temple devoted to one of the legendary heroes of Khazari. The building is tended by three old shukenja. Since the place is popular with the local citizens, and because the staff is small, the Yellow Mountain Sect leaves the shrine alone. It is claimed that those seeking courage and strength can receive it here by making a generous offering and then spending the night in a vigil on the shrine’s steps. ©1990 TSR, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

8. Bell Tower This is another alarm tower, like the Drum Tower. It is, however, much smaller and less elaborate. The Bell Tower is used only to raise the fire alarm in the city. Although the city is stone and brick, nearly every house stores firewood on the roof. This makes the threat of fire particularly potent. 9. The Five Great Terraces This enclosure is used by the governor to review his troops and entertain important guests. It consists of five stone terraces, each set atop the other, surrounded by a graveled square. On three sides of the terraces are troop barracks. The locals stay well clear of this place, since it is a crime to be caught here without the permission of the governor. 10. The Tying Place and Livestock Market This square has a series of stables and corrals around its edge. Caravans and travelers are expected to leave their animals here, unless they have stables elsewhere in the city. Once a month, the square becomes a noisy livestock market. A considerable stink rises from this area year-round. 11. Danyig the Smith This is the shop of the best blacksmith and armorer in Manass. He makes most standard tools and weapons (of the Shou variety) and can make unusual items if given a copy. 12. Temple of the Red Mountain This small and beleaguered temple is the home of the shukenja of the Red Mountain Sect, the rivals of the Yellow Mountain. Out of favor with the governor, the temple is frequently attacked by the sohei of the Yellow Mountain. The shukenja here, numbering 19, are determined to stay and have put up stiff resistance. Still, it is only the support of Prince Ogandi that keeps them from being driven out of Manass. 13. Big Tiger Pagoda This structure is an impressive brick pagoda, seven stories tall. It was built to the honor of the King-Who-SlewBambalan, a savior of the Khazari people. The pagoda is maintained by the governor, using funds he collects through a special head tax. 14. The Douse of Galbi This modest-seeming building is the home of Galbi of Semphar. Driven out of his native land for his immoral practices, he has moved his operations here. Behind his doors one can find drinking, gambling, and worse. These activities are well known to the governor, but Galbi also runs a string of thieves from his place. Although the governor has tried many times, he has yet to prove Galbi guilty of any crime. 15. Temple of the Nine Travelers This temple is relatively new to Manass. It is devoted to Giants in Gray, a small sect found in Shou Lung. The temple is managed by Li Dawchyuan, a settler from Shou Lung. Many Shou travelers make a point of stopping here before continuing their journeys. The temple is a good place to learn the latest (no older than a year) gossip from Shou Lung. The Yellow Mountain Sect is watching the temple carefully, uncertain just what to make of this foreign religion. 16. The Wet Fields These fields close to the river are irrigated to grow rice and vegetables. The ground is muddy and hard to cross. 17. The Little Stone Bridge According to tales, this bridge was once the home of a powerful oni, who drowned late-night travelers. He was defeated by Tsikapasmatra a long time ago. The stories also say the oni had a great treasure, but digging all around the area has not revealed anything. Of course, there is always someone willing to sell a map showing the treasure’s location. 18. The Dry Fields These fields are not irrigated. Barley and millet grow here.

Key to Almorel

1. Drogos Farmstead: Gospin Drogoski, half-elf farmer 2. The Lantern-house: Lighthouse; Kiros Iskin, human lighthouse keeper 3. Cherminov Farmstead: Andrei Cherminov, human farmer 4. The Golden Bridle: caravansary; Hamad Tuaros, Semphari human innkeeper 5. Rotburg Slum 6. The Monday market ground 7. Minehead of Hammermaker the Small, dwarven smith 8. Convent of Mitras 9. Temple of Chauntea 10. Goldsmithers’ Guild: Jaco Tirst, dwarven head guildmaster 11. House of the Dragomen: official residence of foreign officials and respected caravan-masters; Sirule Kalishenko, half-elf chamberlain 12. The Raumkremyl 13. The Hanging Place: public execution ground and militia muster 14. Boyar Herrangman’s estate, human nobleman 15. Inn of the Crooked Staff: I. A. Grekov, human proprietor 16. The Vernadsky Fief, human nobleman 17. The Moneylender’s Guild: Eck Barrelstave, dwarf guildmaster 18. The Fallow Field Tavern: D. Iaroslav, human owner 19. The Estate of Mechnik Nikitsky, human ruler of Almorel 20. The Baliaka Hall: bard and entertainer’s guildhall 21. Fief of the Lesser Lord: Bludwite Sharp-pick, dwarf nobleman 22. The Trader’s Rest: caravansary; M. V. Zapolsky, human owner 23. The Great School of Deneir: temple to the god of learning 24. The Gospoda-Veche: meeting hall of the city council and armory 25. The Dwarven Mir: compound of the dwarven community 26. The Pole: prison and official dueling ground 27. Gond Sobor: temple to the god of blacksmiths 28. Il-mater’s Ground: shrine to the god of suffering 29. Kochetnik’s House: the best sailor in all of Almorel 30. The East Gate and Tax House 31. Dacha of the Fish: pension house for fishermen’s widows 32. The Chernacha: The Little Black Citadel, barracks and armory 33. Hospice of Wu the Mad: inn; Mad Wu (of Shou), human owner 34. The Red Sturgeon: tavern 35. Batu the Lame: civilized nomad, guide 36. The Leaving-House: caravansary and warehouse 37. The Mills: community flour mills; Victor Tikhomirov, human manager 38. Wreck of the Little Dragonfly: crashed Spelljammer ship 39. Breaker’s Rocks: submerged reef 40. The Nixie Deep: nixies and other sea creatures often sighted near here

©1990 TSR, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Stories and Tales The Endless Waste did not spring from nowhere. As an inhabitant of the Forgotten Realms, your characters have heard some lies, legends, stories, and tales about the lands to the east. Some of these are tales from your childhood, others the boasts of mercenaries. Like the map on the other side of this card, the accuracy of these accounts is questionable-but behind a lie there is often a grain of truth. Some of the more notable stories that are told are listed below. One of the greatest nations in the world, home of the desert men, is found south of Thay. They are a heathen people, but all the trade between the West and Shou Lung passes through the capital of the land—Daz-tanner. The problem is the Daz-tanners are a greedy and suspicious lot. It’s hard to do business with them because their merchants are afraid of foreign competition. The whole area is nothing but smooth desert. There are no trees, no rivers, only little mud-holes for water. Hidden in the mountains of the Endless Waste is the empire of the Raumatharans. They’ve been living in hiding since the great NarfellRaumathar War. They are fabulously wealthy and have many ancient magical items. Hidden in the mountains of the Endless Waste is the empire of the Emascari. They are an ancient race, from even before humans came. They are fabulously wealthy and have many ancient magical items. Hidden in the mountains of the Endless Waste is a long-lost part of the empire of Mulhorand. They’ve been living in hiding since the great Narfell-Raumathar War. They are fabulously wealthy and have many ancient magical items. It’s said that there is a river where the bottom is coated in gold. The Waste is a deadly place. Poisonous clouds roll across the surface, killing everything in their path. The Waste is the land of centaurs. There are huge numbers of them, wild and savage. Far to the north there’s a race where the men are dogs and the women fair and beautiful. There is a powerful empire between here and Shou Lung. It is a land ruled by a good king named Johann. There are dangerous spirits all through that land, who try to lure caravans from the track and destroy them. ©1990 TSR, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Be it known that according to the dwellers of the wasteland the fabric of this world is divided into two parts, East and West, that reach from the points of sunrise and sunset. The West begins at the cold mountains of Rashemen and includes the bark lands of Thay. Accordingly, even the wild horsemen recognize the thaumaturgic power of Zulkirs throughout that lad. The remaining part, the East, includes the lands we know as the great wasteland, stretching as far as the shores of the Great Ice Sea, and is called Taan and the people are called Taangan. I must now explain the position of their country. Most of it is very flat, and part of it is mountainous. The soil is bad because it is very sandy and the climate is harsh in winter and intemperate in summer. It rains little, and the ground is scorched by the sun. Great winds are frequent and there often is much thunder and lightning and storms out of season. It was told to me that before I came there were fires from heaven that consumed many horses and herdsmen and that, after this, hail fell in such quantity that men could not walk across the ground. While I was among them, gusts of wind came up of such strength they created a cloud of dust so thick that a man could not ride through it. Living in this land are many wild people. These barbarians are of low stature and thin, because of their diet of milk, which is all they consume. They have flat faces and prominent cheekbones and

cut their hair in a tonsure like some monks. They let the remaining hair grow long and braid it like the savages of the icy north. For their clothing, know that men and women wear the same kind of dress and are not easy to tell apart. These matters are more curious than useful, so I will not speak of them here. Their houses are made of cloth and are round of shape, made with lattice and poles. They are called urts. They make a window in the roof for smoke to escape. They live in groups called hordes and can move these from place to place. They have no cities or villages but give the hordes names after the ruler. In their land there is no wood for either nobles or commoners, so they have become cunning artificers of leather. They burn the dung of cattle and horses for their fires. Of all men, they despise greatly those of other nations so much so that even the Taangan interpreters are held in higher station than the envoy from a great king. All are exceedingly greedy, and if they do not receive gifts, they delight in tormenting the envoy with hardships of starvation and irritants. For this part I was forced to spend the greater part of the coins provided me by the Thultyrl on gifts lest I suffer as the envoy from the Zulkirs Thay did. By these actions they seek to compel their visitor to give gifts. Moreover, they are devoid of honesty in dealing with foreigners, and it is their way to promise much at the beginning but deliver inhuman cruelties by the end. Their promises are like scorpions. Among themselves, they are more obedient to the lords of their hordes than any other nation. No mercy is shown to those who sin, and the chief of the horde holds his people in power in every day. There arise among them powerful chiefs called kans who give law over many hordes. If any man attempts to become kan out of pride and is without influence, he is instantly slain. Their laws are strict and carefully observed, but are different in each horde. They fear their ancestors and hold a great many things to be sins. If a man spits out a mouthful of food, he is dragged from his urt and beaten. If a man steps on the threshold of the chiefs urt, he is instantly slain. There are laws regarding the treatment of fire, which they hold in reverence. They have a great fear of storms and lightning and will not go outside during a tempest, but hide under their rugs until it has passed. They hold it is no sin to shed blood, except the blood of another in the horde, nor to steal or lie to others. When I taught them of the laws of the Thultyrl, they laughed at these and paid them no attention. They have no belief in our gods, but hold that everything good and evil comes from the gods of shy and earth. They do not concern themselves with the faith of another, provided he obeys their laws in every way, otherwise they will kill him and take his family and possessions. They take whatever wives they can afford and can divorce with a single word. The women are held in great respect and often take command of the household when the man is ill. When a husband dies, the widow is wed to his brother, uncle, or a stepson. This day the family will not want and the horde is maintained. ©1990 TSR, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Caravan Generator One frequent and important encounter for dwellers and travelers across the Endless Waste are the caravans that plod their way along the trade routes from east to west and vice-versa. These encounters will provide characters the chance to gain information and needed goods far from civilization. They can also mean safety for unfortunate parties overwhelmed by the dangers of the steppe. However, unless given detail, the caravan will quickly become a lifeless encounter. The tables below provide specific details about a caravan, that will make each encounter unique. To use the system, begin with Table 1 and proceed through the tables in order, unless instructions tell you otherwise.

Table 4: Goods and Loads Carried (d100)

Table 1: Origin (d6) 1-4 5-6

West East

Table 2: Size (d100) 01-35 36-70 71-98 99-00

Small Medium Large Royal

(2 rolls on Table 4) (4 rolls on Table 4) (8 rolls on Table 4) (8 rolls on Table 4 plus one roll on Tables 4a and 4b.)

Table 3: Origin and Final Destination (d10) Roll once to determine where the caravan began and once to determine its goal, using the appropriate direction for each. East 1 2-4 5-8 9 10 West 1-3 4-5 6-8 9 10

Spice Road

Other Routes

Chao Yang Minlow Tai Tung Ni-Ko Ansi

1 2 3 4-8 9-10

Golden Way

Other Routes

1-7 Almorel Citadel Rashemar 8-10 Rashemen Telflamm Surthay

Alashan Kushk Cham Fao Yenching Mishan

Dhaztanar Solon

01 02-05 06-08 09-12 13 14 15-17 18-19 20-25 26-28 29 30 31-34 35-37 38 39 40-43 44-47 48-50 51-52 53-54 55 56 57 58 59-60 61-62 63-64 65-70 71 72 73-74 75-76 77-85 86-87 88-89 90 91-92 93-95 96-99 00

Aloeswood (2-3 loads) Armor (2-4 loads) Brassware (1-6 loads) Camels (10-30) Camphor (1-3 loads) Cardamon (1-2 loads) Cattle (10-60) Cloves (1 load) Cotton (2-12 loads) Dates (1-3 loads) Ebony (1-2 loads) Elephants (1-6) ** Felt (2-8 loads) Fine steel (2-7 loads) Frankincense (1 load) Ginseng (1-2 loads) ** Glass (2-5 loads) Horse hides (2-20 loads) Incense (1-3 loads) Indigo (1-2 loads) Linen (1-4 loads) *** Lotus (1 load) ** Myrrh (1 load) Nutmeg (1-2 loads) Patchouli (1-2 loads) Raisins (1-3 loads) Rare dogs (2-8) Rosewood (1-3 loads) Rugs (2-8 loads) Sable furs (1-2 loads) *** Saffron (*) *** Sandalwood (1-3 loads) Sheep (20-200) Silk (2-8 loads) ** Spear heads (1-3 loads) Swords (1-4 loads) Tiger skins (1 load) ** Wax (1-3 loads) Wine (2-12 loads) *** Go to Table 4b Go to Table 4c

Table 5: Transport (d100)

Table 4b 01-03 04-06 07-09 10 11-12 13 14-17 18-20 21-25 26-32 33 34 35-38 39-41 42-44 45-47 48-49 50-52 53-55 56-60 61-65 66-67 68 69 70-71 72-73 74-76 77-80 81-84 85-90 91-93 94-95 96-00

Amber (1 load) Cheetahs (2-4) * * * Coral (1-2 loads) Diamonds (*) Dwarven craftsmen (2-20) * * * Emeralds (*) Falcons (2-4) Gold (*) Hawks (2-4) Horses (20-120) Hostages (1-3) Iron (2-5 loads) Ivory (1-3 loads) Jade (*) Lapis Lazuli (*) Leopards (1-3) Lions (1-4) * * * Parrots (2-6) Peacocks (2-8) Pearls (*) Pepper (1-2 loads) Pistachios (1-4 loads) Rhinoceros (1-2) * * * Rhinoceros horn (1 load) * * * Rubies (*) Salt (3-18 loads) Sealskin (1-2 loads) * * * Sharkskin (1-3 loads) * * Silver (*) Slaves (6-60) Sulphur (2-12 loads) Tortoise shell (1 load) Go to Table 4c

Table 4c 01-05 06-10 11-17 18-25 26-35 36-45 46-52 53-60 61-67 68-75 76-85 86-90 91-95 96-99 00

Behir horn (*) * * * Behir scale (*) * * * Beholder eyes (*) Cockatrice (1-2) Dragon blood (*) Dragon scale (*) Fire lizard eggs (1-2) Manticore hide (1-3) * * * Owlbear eggs (1-2) * * * Pseudodragon eggs (1) Python bile (*) Rare books or scrolls (1-6) Scorpion venom (*) Troll blood (*) * * * Other

* The value of all special items should not be more than 50% the total worth of the caravan, according to the Monstrous Compendium. * * Found only on westbound caravans * * * Found only on eastbound caravans

©1990 TSR, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

If there are any loads to be carried, roll below to determine the method of transport. Camels Mules Horses Porters Ox carts Magical device Elephants (only if from the east) Monster

01-50 51-65 66-68 69-73 74-90 91 92-98 99-00

Table 6: Caravan Personnel Every caravan, no matter the size, has the following members: A caravan-master A guide or scout A master merchant A commander of the guard (approximately a 6th level fighter) Thereafter, the number of guards, merchants, and drovers depends on the number of loads, type of transport, and value of the caravan. To find the number of drivers, use the ratios given below. The number is a ratio of drivers to animals; 1/3, for example, means one driver is needed for every three animals (or carts, in the case of ox carts). Horses 1/3

Mules 1/5

Camels Elephants Ox Carts 1/1 1/1 1/3

For monsters, at least one driver is needed for each beast, possibly more (depending on the monster type). Magical devices-flying ships, levitating barges, juggernauts, and the like-generally require small but skilled crews. Exotic animals (lions, rhinoceroses, cockatrices, etc.), are always carried in wagons and require one handler for every two animals. Herds require one drover for every 10 head of livestock. In addition to the master merchant, there is another merchant present for each different type of good carried. If there are any items from Tables 4b or 4c, these are accompanied by an additional merchant. The number of guards is twice the combined total of all other personnel. If there are 10 merchants, 8 drivers and 5 others, there will be 46 guards. In addition, the number of guards is doubled again if the caravan carries any item from Table 4b and tripled if it has any item from Table 4c. Thus, 23 merchants transporting a valuable item (from Table 4c) would have 138 guards. For every 50 guards, there is a subcommander of 3rd to 4th level. For every 100, there is a priest and wizard of 5th to 7th level with the group. Finally, there is a 20% chance the caravan is accompanied by 2-8 travelers, 60% of whom are adventurers (see Monstrous Compendium). Other possible travelers are troupes of entertainers, wandering sages, exiles, and fleeing criminals.

A Fistful of Sand Part IV: The Battle of Bitter Well Adventure Set-Up At this point, player characters with any sense of honor will feel obliged to track down and, with luck, rescue those members of the caravan held prisoner by the nomads. This is not an easy task, since the nomads number in the hundreds against the characters’ handful. To have any hope of success, the player characters must find allies to support them in their cause. Even before they can accomplish that, the player characters must track the nomads and catch up with them. Although the nomads have only a few hours head start and have left an easy trail to follow, the horsemen ride as swiftly as the wind. If playing this adventure by itself, the player characters begin by finding the dead bodies and wreckage of a caravan. It has just been sacked by nomads. Among the dead, they find a survivor who describes what happened. The survivor urges the player characters to punish the nomads. Use whatever entreaty is most likely to appeal to your player characters-the great honor they will gain, the valiant heroism, recovering the stolen treasure, or rescuing a lord or lady in distress. Nomad player characters who examine the bodies can tell the attackers were part of the Oigur tribe. The Pursuit With several hundred horsemen, the trail of the nomads is easy to follow, at least initially. However, the nomads travel swifter than the characters. After several hours allow any character with tracking proficiency to make a check. If successful, the character notices the trail is getting older and deduces the riders are moving very fast. After a few more hours the player characters discover a new problem— the trail splits as several groups of horsemen ride away in different directions. One group is still clearly larger than the rest and still has the prisoners. With nightfall the characters must stop tracking. The nomads will not stop traveling, however. Friend or Foe, Part II Just before dawn, alert sentries notice a mass of mounted horsemen moving in their direction. If the guards promptly give the alert, the characters have adequate time to arm and assemble before the riders reach their camp. Just beyond the range of light, the nomads stop. It looks like an entire ordu of several hundred is on the move. Their leader hails the camp from the darkness, refusing to come forward until he is certain the characters will not treacherously attack. If the nomads are attacked or rudely treated, they attack. As DM, discourage foolishness by the player characters. Try not to let them pick a fight they cannot win.

The nomads are part of the Tuigan tribe. They are returning from a raid-not on the caravan. This particular group has no great love of the Oigurs and could be induced to take part in a raid against their rivals. The exact inducements are left to the cunning of the player characters. The Tuigan are not impressed by appeals to honor, fair play, or what is right. Gifts or a promise of the largest share of loot taken will buy their services but not their respect or loyalty. Characters who want to gain the admiration of the nomads must earn it. Challenging the chief to a duel (not to the death) or pinning the ordu’s best wrestler are good methods to accomplish this. The nomads will be able to guide the group to the camp of the Oigur, since they know the habits of their enemies. They will give this information regardless of whether they accompany the characters or not. The Oasis The Oigur raiders are camped alongside a small pool at the edge of the Quoya desert. It will take the player characters another day to find the camp. Characters have two choices for rescuing the prisoners. If they have enough warriors, the characters can lead a raid directly against the camp. If they choose this option, the encounter can (and should) be fought using the BATTLESYSTEM™ miniatures rules. The Oasis Map shows the position of terrain and troops at the start of the action. The special rules given here handle the surprise nature of the attack. If the characters are on their own, they will have to steal into the camp and rescue the characters. A simple key is given here. 1. Sentries At each location is a single nomad. There is a 30% chance a given man will be asleep. 2. Khan's Yurt The khan, his six sub-commanders, and the wizard are all in this yurt. Chained at the door is the khan’s pet hunting leopard. Khan: Fighter 10, hp 69, AC -1, THAC0 9, #At 2, Dmg 1-8 +3, +1 sword, +5 splint mail, ring of regeneration Sub-commanders: Fighter 6, hp 37 each, AC 4, THAC0 15, #AT 3/2, Dmg 1-8 Wizard: Wizard 5, hp 12, AC 7, THAC0 19, #AT 1, Dmg 1-4, bracers of defense AC 7, rod of absorption, drums of panic Leopard: hp 13, AC 6, THAC0 17, #AT 3, Dmg 1-3/ 1-3/ 1-6, SA rake, surprised only on a 1 3. Prisoner's Tent The captives are here, guarded by three nomads. Regular nomads: AC 6, HD 1, THAC0 20, #AT 1, Dmg 1-8 (sword) or 1-6 (shortbow), ML 13

BATTLESYSTEM™ Rules There are 300 warriors in the camp but they are not deployed for battle. How quickly they muster depends on the amount of warning they receive. Sentries Sound Alarm: If no special steps are taken to silence the sentries, the guards will sound the alarm as soon as the player characters are sighted. The men in the camp will be armed and mounted and deployed on the edge of their camp in one BATTLESYSTEM™ game turn.

Sentries Fail to Sound Alarm: If this happens, either through chance or character action, the camp will not be alerted until the Tuigan are within 15 inches of the tents or the troops have suffered casualties (from bowfire). Arrows fired blindly into the camp cause half the normal casualties. Once the alarm is sounded, roll 1d10. This is the number of figures that will be mustered for battle that turn. The troops appear at the edge of the camp closest to the attackers.

A Fistful of Sand Part III: Raiding In this section of the ongoing adventure, the player characters and the caravan reach the nomads, though not perhaps by the method they expected. This adventure gives you a chance to introduce characters to the horse nomads and their culture.

The master merchant refuses to go. The caravan master must stay with the caravan, especially since the guide has disappeared. The commander of the guard must ready the defenses. For all these reasons and more, the task must fall upon the player characters. Depending on their duties, the player characters may be ordered to carry the message. Otherwise, some excuse will be given.

Adventure Set-Up

The Message

Day after day, the caravan treks across the dusty steppe with nothing to break the monotony. The camels plod forward, urged on by the cries of their drovers. The guards sweat under the hot sun, quickly growing bored and lax. So things go.

When the stated time comes, the characters are led to the camp of the khan (use the Typical Nomad Camp map). They have been given a sealed letter to carry to the khan—who cannot read. The player characters will have to read it to him. The message reads: “After much consideration, we decline your generous offer. All in the caravan will stand against you.” Of course, the player characters are in the middle of the enemy camp when they read this.

The Watchers During the march, the caravan is being shadowed by nomad riders. The riders are stealthy at first, gradually becoming bolder over the next few days. They make no attempt to contact the caravan and gallop away if approached. There is nothing to do but wait. The guide (Kaunchi, if he is present) is even more watchful and nervous. If questioned, he says it is the way of the horsemen, although he is none too convincing about this. In truth, these are his fellow tribesmen, watching the caravan for his signal. If the characters watch the guide, they discover that he disappears late at night, stealing away from the camp to meet his fellows.

Friend or Foe? After many days of observation by the nomads, the characters awake one morning to discover the guide is gone. Furthermore, a small group of nomads have appeared at the head of the caravan. There are about 20 riders. They sit on their horses, gathered in a group beyond the range of a bow. The master merchant is in a state near panic. The caravan master is dour but calm, uncertain of what this portends. The commander of the guard has assumed the worst and is preparing a defense. Slowly, the riders approach. The players must quickly decide if the men are friend or foe. The riders are indeed the enemy-after a fashion. They are only a few of a larger tribe. They have come to prevent bloodshed and extort payment from the caravan. Their terms are simple-all the goods and animals in exchange for everyone’s lives. If the caravan surrenders, which is unlikely, the characters find themselves stranded in the middle of the steppe. If the characters refuse, the caravan will have to fight a running battle across the steppe. The caravan master is in favor of stalling. He asks for time to consider the demand. After much haggling, the nomads agree. Tomorrow they will take someone from the caravan to meet with their khan.

Reaction The khan does not take this news well. He orders an immediate attack on the caravan—with no prisoners taken. As for the messengers, they too are to be killed. The player characters suddenly find themselves surrounded by the enemy. If the player characters want to live, they must battle their way out of the camp. This battle should be exciting and a very near thing, but the characters should escape in the end. (Statistics on the nomads in the camp are given below.) Furthermore, characters should at least try to get back to the caravan. No matter how swift the characters are, though, they arrive too late. The caravan has been overrun. The commander is barely alive, but is able to tell what happened. The nomads swept down on the caravan and showered it with arrows. The guards were shattered and then the riders swept down on the defenseless merchants. They took the camels and many prisoners and left the rest, like him, to die. Those taken were the important people-the master merchant, caravan master, and passengers. The nomads are holding them prisoner. Nomads in ordu: 25 regular soldiers, 3 noyan, 1 shaman Regular soldiers: AC 6, HID 1, THAC0 20, #AT 1, D 1-8 (sword) or 1-6 (shortbow), ML 13 Noyan: AC 4, Lvl 5, THAC0 15, #AT 3/2, D 1-8 +2, ML 15 Shaman: AC 6, Lvl 6 Pr, THAC0 18, #AT 1, D 1-6, ML 10 Bless Command Detect evil Dispel magic Dust devil Hold person Charm person or Summon insects mammal

No Speaka da Language Adventure Set-Up This adventure is designed for characters of low-to mid-level. It is intended to be a challenge to the roleplaying abilities of players. It will require considerable DM skill, but can create a humorous and rewarding adventure. For best effect, the player characters should not have access to spells or devices that allow comprehension of languages. Linguistic confusion is the point of this entire adventure. The play begins at a caravansary in Manass. The characters can be familiar with the place or newly arrived.

The Mad Monk It is evening. Outside, the cold, fall winds are howling around the doors. The shutters have been closed tight for the night, keeping in the warm smoke of the wood-and-dung fire. The place is almost empty. Only a few caravans are preparing to leave, racing across the steppe before the freezing snows of winter set in. Suddenly there is a banging, someone beating against the wooden door. The grumbling innkeeper quickly opens the door, then steps back, bowing in respect. Standing in the doorway, snowflakes whipping around him, is a shaven-headed monk of the Red Mountain Temple, his orange robes whipping in the wind, his eyes wild and staring. “Doom! Doom! The cycle is ending,” he rants as he strides into the room. “It is the end of the silver age. Now the gods will remake the world from fire and flame. The signs are here! I have seen them.” The monk continues to rave like this, speaking to no one in particular. He grows more and more excited until he is crashing his stick against things, seizing others to get their attention. He must be restrained before he causes someone harm. The characters can do this with some struggle. He must be tied down, but he will continue his shouts until he finally collapses from exhaustion.

The Next Morning With the dawn, the player characters wake to the noise of shouting in the streets, incomprehensible shouting. Something is very wrong. As soon as the player characters try to talk to each other, they discover the problem. Suddenly the player characters discover they cannot understand each other. The words of their friends sound like gibberish. The speech has been confused. At this point tell the players that they are not allowed to talk or write to each other. For some reason, the characters cannot understand the words, in any form, of others. Players can describe the actions of their characters, mime, grunt, and make funny noises, but cannot talk or discuss things with the other players. Tell them this is how it will be until they find a cure. As DM, you are under the same restrictions as the player characters. You can describe scenes and events to them, but you cannot have NPCs talk with

them. You, too, must mime your messages. Have fun. The cause of the confusion is the monk. All those who come in contact with him can no longer communicate. Do not give the player characters any clue as to this. They should be able to deduce he is important. Unfortunately, he is also gone. His bonds appear to have been magically severed during the night. The monk has escaped and is now wandering through Almorel. Given his effect on people, it should not be too hard to follow his trail.

In the Streets To follow the monk, the characters simply have to look for the signs of confusion and consternation that his passing has caused. He left the caravansary and headed for the Red Mountain Temple. People along this route were affected. To track him, treat the chase like a game of hotter and colder. When the characters are hot, i.e., headed in the right direction, they will see many people shouting at each other, pantomiming, gesturing, or just behaving strangely. When they are colder, they don’t see these things. Life appears ordinary. The further off the path they get, the more normal things appear.

The Red Mountain Temple The blocks immediately around the temple are a mass of confusion. This area is clearly the center of the strange effect. No one here can communicate. The common citizens are in a state of panic, and the city guard is terrified to venture near the temple. If the player characters want to be cured, they must go in themselves. Getting into the temple compound is simple, since there seems to be no one at the gate. Incomprehensible chanting, along with cymbals and drums, can be heard from the main hall, straight ahead. Just as the characters are about to enter, the doors open. Standing in the doorway is an old, wizened monk. Beyond him, sitting in a square, are 10 more monks, chanting and beating their instruments. They are clearly involved in some spell or ritual. The old man is actually a manggus (see Monstrous Compendium pages in this set). He will attempt to shoo the characters off. If they persist, he will attack. His preferred forms for his shapechanging ability are: a carrion crawler, oliphant, and me-zu oni. If the characters disrupt the ceremony, the magical effect is negated and characters will be able to communicate normally. In the investigation that comes afterward, the monks tell how they were duped by the manggus (a clever creature) into chanting the rites of consternation, a powerful group spell known only to their temple. They are grateful to the characters and will offer them cash or another reward fitting to their service. Those that choose the second suddenly find themselves with the ability to speak one language of their choice. This new language must be chosen immediately. ©1990 TSR, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

A Fistful of Sand Part II: Caravan of Fools This adventure continues the travails begun by the player characters in Bad Wine. It starts in Dhaztanar and assumes the player characters are trying to find a way out of town.

Adventure Set-Up Dhaztanar, springboard of the caravan trade, is always looking for strong arms and foolhardy souls to try the hazardous journey across the steppes. The caravan trade needs guards, wizards, priests, and scouts to make the journey. On a good trip the rewards are great-a share of the profits plus any treasure found en route. For a bad trip, there is always the spectre of death. Currently there are several caravans seeking workers. In addition, most caravans will accept fellow travelers, provided they pay a fee to the caravan master. On the three caravans hiring, the following positions are available: Caravan #1 Guards Drover Cook scout

#2 Guards Drover Interpreter Servant

#3 Guards Drover Lieutenant Wizard

Guard: Any warrior or rogue can qualify as a guard, although sickly looking characters will not be accepted. All characters must provide their own equipment. Drover: Any character who shows a skill at handling animals can apply for the position of drover. Cook: Any character can apply to be a cook. If he proves a bad one, he’ll be sacked in Ilphanar without pay. Interpreter: The character must be able to speak at least one language of the steppe. For each additional language of the region the character speaks, his pay goes up. Lieutenant: The character must have a Charisma of 14 or more, or be able to provide references as to his prowess in battle. Failing these, the character will have to make a favorable impression on the commander of the guard-possibly by sparring with him. Scout: Preference for this post is given to natives of the steppe. Otherwise, the character will have to produce some convincing references. Servant: Any character who gets a positive reaction roll from the caravan master can work as his servant.

Wizard: Those applying for this post will be required to provide a listing of their abilities and then demonstrate those abilities. The final hiring is subject to a good reaction roll from the caravan master.

The Caravan No matter which caravan the characters get posts in from the list above, it is the caravan of Cosmas Indicopleustes, a merchant from Impiltur. His caravan includes the following: Cosmas Indicopleustes, master merchant: An honest but crafty man, the heavy-set and sweating Cosmas has staked his future on the success of this caravan. He has borrowed heavily to purchase the goods and outfit the caravan. If all goes as he hopes, he will sell his goods for a handsome, though not amazing, profit. It hardly needs to be said that he is fearful of anything going wrong. Masudi of Dhaztanar, caravan master: Masudi is a harsh and upright man, a member of an extreme sect of Muhjari. It preaches abstinence, fasting, and rejection of all pleasure. He expects the caravan to follow strict Muhjari laws. These include bans on alcohol, gambling, profanity, and blasphemy against the true gods. Non-Muhjari priests are forbidden to practice or display the symbols of their faith. Rukn ud-Din Mahmud, commander of the guard: Although a devout follower of Muhjari, Rukn has a more practical view of things than Masudi. The lean, hard-bitten commander forbids alcohol (mostly for practical reasons), but views other vices as necessary outlets, so long as they do not get out of hand. He knows better than to directly contradict Masudi’s authority, but tends to turn a blind eye toward minor infractions. Still, he believes in strict discipline and does not tolerate any sluggards in his command. Kaunchi of the Oigur, guide (in addition to any player characters): Kaunchi is a dangerous and deceitful man. Thoroughly evil, he is adept at hiding his feelings and intentions. He will take any reprimand as an insult. He considers all non-nomads as less than people and feels no bonds of honor or duty to them. In short, he plans to betray the caravan to the bandits of his tribe. Also along are: 1 Dalat interpreter (unless filled by a PC) 9 merchants 9 camel-handlers 1 wagon driver 6 drovers 1 leopard handler 120 guards 2 sub-commanders (unless filled by PC)

The caravan is carrying the following goods: 4 camels with brassware from Dhaztanar 6 camel-loads of Semphari cotton 7 camel-loads of Semphari steel 3 camel-loads of Murghom rugs 2 camel-loads of ebony from Lurien 2 camel loads of sable furs from the far north 1 mule cart carrying a caged hunting leopard 60 head of cattle in addition, there are four passengers traveling with the group. Ahmad and his half-sister, Yasmine: These two seem as dissimilar as night and day. Both are handsome and beautiful, but he is clearly educated and well-bred while she is wild and savage. He is Semphari, while nomad blood flows through her veins. They are very close and seldom separate from each other. Ahmad is fiercely protective of his sister against the advances of others. She, however, cannot help but flirt with men. Zar-Dandan the Wanderer: This half-elf is nicknamed “Gold-Teeth” for the large number of capped teeth in his mouth. He is a charming and affable fellow, clearly something of a rogue, but well meaning and friendly. He is always quick with a story or a verse. He is, however, very quiet about his own past. Nasr-uddin the Lame: Nasr-uddin is traveling as a prophet to supposedly spread the faith of Muhjari. He seems a very pious, if detached, man. He fits the image of a missionary, with his long, white beard and flowing robes. The Route The caravan’s final destination is the Shou Lung city of Yen- Ching. However, for a number of reasons, the merchants are taking a roundabout route to their goal. The map shows the path of their journey. Cosmas intends to sell some of his merchandise to the nomads and the rest in Yen-Ching. The Plots This caravan is not going to be the peaceful, profitable journey the player characters might hope it will be. Among the baggage are a number of conflicts that will create peril for the travelers. It is your task to interweave these plots with the actions of the player characters. Kaunchi the guide plans to lead the caravan to its doom. Once it is well into the steppe, he will deliver the caravan into the hands of Oigur bandits. He has done this before. As a hedge against failure, Cosmas is secretly carrying a pouch of gems worth 10,000 gp. He keeps this on his person at all times. Unfortunately, Cosmas is

nervous and a poor liar to boot. Rumors of some secret treasure he carries fill the camp. Ahmad and Ai-yaruk are only posing as brother and sister. He is actually the son of a wealthy nobleman of Dhaztanar, while she is a lowly dancing girl. They are secretly eloping, since his father forbade their marriage. However, before the caravan left, Ahmad’s father offered a reward of 5,000 golden bezants for the return of his son, whom the father thinks has been kidnapped. News of this reward was the talk of the caravan before leaving. Zar-Dandan is a the son of a man killed by Rukn and his henchmen (the sub-commanders). Under his cheerful demeanor, Zar-Dandan is carefully scheming his revenge. He does not have the power to overcome his enemies openly, and so will strike murderously in the night. Finally, there is Nasr-uddin. If you are playing this adventure as the second part of a Fistful of Sand, Nasr-uddin has been sent by Faroud the Merchant to track down the player characters and kill them. Faroud believes they were willing participants in Anton’s plot. Nasr is both patient and precise. He waits to be certain the player characters are his target. Once he is positive, he will take steps to eliminate each character, one by one. Ahmad, 4th level fighter CG Str 13 Dex 8 Con 12 Wis 5 Cha 13 Int 13 hp 21 THAC0 16 AC 5 +1 axe, +1 sword, potion of climbing, ring of elemental command, protection from lycanthropes, +1 brigandine, +1 dagger, rope of climbing Nars-uddin, 8th level priest of Cyric LE Dex 12 Con 9 Str 14 Wis 17 Cha 8 Int 14 THAC0 11 AC0 hp 53 +3 mace, +2 plate mail, potion of sweet water, potion of Levitation, iron flask containing invisible stalker Rukn ud-Din Mahmud, 7th level fighter LN Str 13 Dex 10 Con 15 Wis 10 Cha 10 Int 15 THAC0 13 AC0 hp 53 +3 mace, rod of flailing, +2 plate mail, elixir of health Zar-Dandan, 5th level fighter/6th level thief N Con 11 Str 13 Dex 13 Cha 17 Wis 13 Int 13 AC7 THAC0 15 hp 18 +3 sword, potion of fire resistance, ring of jumping, +1 shield ©1990 TSR, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

A Fistful of Sand Part I: Bad Wine Bad Wine is the first part of a four-part adventure designed to acquaint player characters with many of the basic people and places of the Endless Waste. Beginning in civilized Dhaztanar, the player characters will journey with a caravan through the steppe, visit a nomad camp, and eventually face bandits at an oasis in the heart of the Quoya Desert. Although designed as a short, four-part adventure, it is not necessary to play the entire story. Each section presents a complete mini-adventure in itself. If you do not want your characters trekking across the steppe, use whichever adventure cards you prefer and leave the others for a later time.

Adventure Set-Up Dhaztanar, the city of wonders, known for its crystal spires, great universities, exotic markets-and strict adherence to the Muhjari Laws of Purity. One of the best enforced of these laws is the prohibition on alcoholic drink within the walls of the Madinat. The Kalif’s knights are very efficient at finding the secret dens of drink within the walls. They are relentless and incorruptible in pursuit of their duties. Terrible punishments await those caught trafficking in mindnumbing wine and ale. But of course, the characters don’t know anything about this. . . This adventure is best used with newcomers to Dhaztanar, before the player characters have had a chance to learn their way around the city and become familiar with the various laws of the Kalif. As DM, you should impress on the players that Dhaztanar is a civilized place. Player characters will be expected to follow the laws. Those breaking the law are dealt with severely by the Kalif’s guards, famed for their just, if brutal, efficiency. Above all, stress that violence is seldom a wise or safe solution to problems.

The Introduction Working the city gate where the characters enter is Anton Tikizaras, a small-time thief and tout of several irreputable merchants of the Shari-Souk. Standing nervously near the gate, peering at all the strangers, Anton is a man with a problem. As usual, Anton’s problem is money and how to get it. Tikizaras has a plan, and he needs a few toughlooking strangers to put it into action. If they happen to be gullible, so much the better. Upon spotting the player characters entering the gate, he worms through the turbaned crowd and past the braying mules to reach the group’s side. Anton greets the characters and welcomes them to his city. (Lace his speech with many apologetic and

self-effacing statements.) He then launches into a long speech describing a series of misfortunes and sorrows he has suffered. His brother- in-law (“the one with the brain of a fish”) was supposed to deliver a load of silk to Faroud, a merchant in the Madinat. (“Alas for poor Anton!”) The brother-in-law robbed him blind and has sailed with the silk for Murghom and the west. Fool that he was, Anton let his brother hold the money. At this point, Anton lets the characters conclude he wants them to track down his brother-in-law. (“No, no. Why waste money on a fish?”) Anton explains his problem is Faroud, the merchant. The man is unreasonable, demanding his funds back. He has even threatened to hurt Anton, and poor Anton does not have the funds.

The Pitch After having explained all this (and Anton will not let himself be put off), Anton makes his request. He wants to hire the characters to pose as his cousins from far away and come with him to visit Faroud. Anton is sure this will scare Faroud off. (“The old coward will not risk a blood feud—if you look mean.”) He cannot pay much, but it is not dangerous and will not take long. He pleads his case earnestly. All the characters have to do is sit at a table and glower a lot. He earnestly assures them that it will be easy.

The Lockdown At this point, Anton gives a signal to two compatriots —Komanus and Arpad—who have moved up close. They casually come forward and, posing as a pair of Faroud’s thugs, begin accosting Anton. Finally, one of them delivers a fake message from the merchant-a punch that knocks Anton sprawling to the ground. If the character’s don’t interfere, the thugs deliver some more painful-looking blows and then leave. If the characters try to break it up, the two men tell the group to stay out of it and mind their own business. If the player characters threaten violence, the two flee. Of course, it is all an act, although Anton has been roughed up a bit. It should, however, suffice to convince the player characters that his story is true. Once the PCs agree to the job, Anton steers them to an inn where he is not known. He is taking no risks that someone will give his scheme away. He promises to come back for them in several hours, after he has arranged the meeting with Faroud. If the player characters ask questions while he is gone, they draw a blank. No one knows Anton, and there are hundreds of merchants named Faroud in Dhaztanar. If the player characters seek wine or ale, they are informed by the innkeeper that alcoholic drinks are prohibited in Dhaztanar.

The Meeting It is late in the afternoon, after the midday heat has passed, when Anton finally returns. He makes a show of scraping together a few meager coins to pay for the player characters’ rooms and meals. “Faroud has agreed to see me,” he explains. “You must come with me and sit at my table. You don’t need to say anything—just look mean. While you sit there, I will talk to Faroud.” Anton gives the players instructions as he leads them through the streets of the city. Eventually he takes them through one of the gates of the Madinat and into one of the residential sections within its walls. The meeting takes place at a dingy little shop off a small alley in the heart of the residential district. The characters are led through the front of the shop, which appears to be a coffeehouse, into a windowless back room. There are five men in the room, at various tables. Characters will recognize the two ‘thugs’ who attacked Anton earlier, sitting by themselves. At another table are three men: a wealthy-looking merchant (Faroud) and two more thugs. Anton orders wine for the group. Once they are settled, Anton leaves the player characters and joins Faroud. “Remember, look mean,” he reminds them before leaving. At the other table, Anton and the merchant spend much time in earnest discussion. In truth, Anton has no brother and Faroud is not a silk merchant. Anton has learned that Faroud, a dealer in less-than-legal merchandise, is holding a large quantity of smuggled wine on his property. The Con Anton has told Faroud the player characters are willing to buy the wine. He, Anton, is acting as their agent, since they are foreigners. He haggles the terms and eventually sets down a bag of silver drachmas, a down payment on the goods. This is the signal for one of his companions to leave the room. Anton returns to the players’ table, nervous but happy. “My friends,” he says, “Faroud has listened to reason. He will accept my poor payment for the losses, provided I take another shipment at cost. Indeed, he is very impressed by my ‘family.’ Come, we must inspect the goods.” He insists the characters accompany him, protesting that they will ruin him if they do not. Faroud, still with his thugs, leads Anton and the characters to a stable attached to the house. There is a wagon loaded with casks, hidden under a tarp; hardly standard packing for a shipment of silk. The wagon is hitched to a pair of fast horses and is ready to go. The Sting Suddenly, there are cries and shouts from the coffeehouse. A troop of the Kalif’s knights bursts into the stable behind the group. At the same time, the stable gates are opened by one of Anton’s confederates. In a twinkling, the con man leaps into the wagon and whips it through the open gates. His partner scram-

bles on board as the wagon veers around the corner and down the street. The knights have been tipped (by Anton’s men) about the illegal wine and have come to arrest those involved. This includes Faroud, his men, and the player characters —since Faroud will testify against them to save himself. Although the player characters can allow themselves to be arrested, stress that this is not a wise choice. Semphari justice is very harsh and unpleasant. It is much better if the characters flee, although preferably without hurting anyone. Make them decide and act quickly. Flight If the characters decide to bolt, let them succeed (provided they aren’t complete dolts about it.) The knights will chase them. Use the map to make the chase exciting. Obstacles, hindrances, and useful diversions are noted on the map. The characters could duck into a crowd, pull down a pile of baskets, sprint through a women’s or men’s bathhouse, or conceal themselves in swaths of cloth. The more daring the trick, the more successful you should let it be. The knights will only fight in self-defense, trying to take the characters alive instead. Aftermath If the player characters are captured, make them sweat. Throw them into a filthy prison for a few days. Beat them up. Humiliate them. Treat them like common criminals. You can drop suggestions of tortures (screams from down the hall), execution (the headsmen coming by to check the prisoners), or slavery (stories of life as a galley slave). Finally, put them through a magical interrogation. This will confirm their innocence in the affair (but might expose other facts the characters want concealed). If the characters escape, news of the event quickly spreads through the city — or so it seems. The knights begin apprehending all foreigners and examining them against written descriptions. Locals eye the characters suspiciously. It is clearly time to leave town. NPC Statistics Anton Tikizaras, Str 8 Int 13 hp 23 Dagger

6th level thief Dex 15 Wis 12 AC 10

Con 9 Cha 15 THAC0 18

Knight Commander, 4th level fighter hp 19 AC 6 THAC0 16 Sword Knights (x10), 1st level hp 6 AC 7 THAC0 20 Sword ©1990 TSR, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Ancient Empires of the Endless Waste The map on this card shows the greatest extent of several empires from the ancient days of Toril. These nearly forgotten people have all left their mark on the steppe, although in vastly different ways.

The Imaskari The Imaskari Empire is the oldest claimant to the lands of this region and is the ancestor of many of the nations that followed. Great and powerful, it was said to be ruled by a race of godless warrior wizards. In their time, the Imaskari produced great wonders of engineering, architecture, and subtle cruelty—the Grinning Skull Oasis being a fine example. What ultimately brought them down is not known, but there are still traces and artifacts of their empire to be found. Imaskari relics are almost always of two types. The first are the unusual constructions, now mostly in ruins, that can be found scattered across their old realm. None of these are normal, and many are quite bizarre. They often involve deadly traps or tricks in their construction. Bhaluin, Raudor, the Grinning Skull Oasis, and the Fortress of the Old Man are all of Imaskari construction. The other Imaskari relic, one that is rarely discovered, is a magical device. These items are unique and almost always of artifact power. Sometimes their operation or purpose is unfathomable. Those that can be deciphered must be used with great care, for like the ruins, such artifacts are often booby-trapped in sadistically ingenious ways.

Raumathar The next oldest of the major empires is Raumathar, which arose with the collapse of Imaskar. Common belief holds that it was founded by fugitives from the crumbling Imaskari Empire, perhaps a race of slaves. Settling in the far north, the Raumathar Empire quickly grew through the empty lands to the west. It thrived and prospered for a long time, staving off the advances of Muihorand, until it was finally destroyed in the massive Narfel-Raumathar War. With the exception of a few sites (the Raumkremyl, Beacon Cairn, and Winterkeep), the empire left few traces of its existence. It did inherit some of the arcane art of Imaskar, and strange magical devices found in the northern lands are often of Raumatharan design. The wizards were particularly skilled in deal-

ing with the outer planes, although not skilled enough. It is said the wizards ultimately released creatures they could not control and so destroyed both Narfel and Raumathar.

Mulhorand With the collapse of Imaskar, a splinter group of dissidents migrated to the west. Highly religious, they had for years suffered persecution under the Imaskari. Now freed, they quickly laid claim to their land and created Mulhorand. After establishing their base, Muihorand expanded back into the southern parts of the Endless Waste. Murghom was quickly made a vassal state, while the more intractable Sempharans were kept in line. Still, Mulhorand’s hold was tenuous. First, Semphar broke free, then Murghom declared itself independent, and so the situation remains today. The important remains of Mulhorand rule are clerical items. Only a few powerful relics are likely to be found, since most of these were returned to Mulhorand. Beyond magical items, Mulhorand has influenced the dress, food, and customs of the southern peoples. These effects are both less obvious and less important, however. More details on the current Muihorand nation can be found in FR10, Old Empires.

Kao Finally, the Kao Dynasty of Shou Lung (and to a lesser affect the Li Dynasty) have extended their influence over the southern lands. However, the Kao ruled these territories as vassal states. So long as tribute was paid and the laws were obeyed, the Shou made littie attempt to enforce their culture on the Sempharans. Shou Lung has had a greater affect on the nomads to the north. As a result, many magical items, spells, and character classes among the tribes are Eastern in origin. More information on these can be found in Oriental Adventures. Most of the Shou remains take the form of oasis settlements or temples carved in the wilderness. Few ancient relics are found, since most of these are either still in use or have been returned to Shou Lung.

©1990 TSR, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Plains or steppe Rare Tribal Day Omnivorous Average to very (8-12)


2-20 5 (3) 24 6 15 3 1-6/ 1-6 and weapon +1 with bow Nil


Nil L (8’-9’ tall) Elite (13-14) 420


Q (I, V) Neutral or Lawful Neutral

The nomadic centaur is a hardier relation of the more commonly known sylvan centaur. Found in the wide open spaces of plains and steppe, the nomadic centaur is less outgoing and social, preferring to deal with its own kind. Living a harsher life than its woodland cousin, the nomadic centaur has developed a sterner outlook on life. The nomadic variety shares those features characteristic of the race: humanoid torso, head, and arms. They are readily identified, however, by their shaggy coats. Their bodies, torso included, are covered with a thick layer of hair. This serves to protect them from the elements, particularly during the cold winters. The males have long, thin beards and mustaches, a sign of coming of age. Males and females alike let their head hair grow in long braids. A few males shave their heads in the fashion of the human tribes around them. Hair color is most often dirty gray or chestnut. The nomadic centaurs speak their own tribal tongue, although most tribes in a large region speak a dialect of the same tongue. Very few know any other language. Common is the most frequent second language. Combat: Except when sleeping, these centaurs are always armed. The weapons may be slung over the back while doing other tasks, but to travel without one’s weapons is inconceivable to the nomads. Traditionally, nomadic centaurs use a shortbow (with quivers of 100 arrows), light lance, and saber. Some (no more than 15 percent) use small shields. They are masters of the bow, trained to shoot from childhood. They gain a +1 on their THAC0 when using a bow. They can move their normal movement and shoot an arrow at the same time, without any penalty. The bow plays an important role in the centaur style of combat. They try to avoid straight-up fights whenever possible, since this deprives them of their two biggest advantages—speed and range. Instead they will keep a distance from the enemy, firing arrows and then galloping out of the way when the enemy charges. Among their own, they say that a warrior who fights with a sword is either a hero, an incompetent, or a fool. Their second preferred tactic is the charge. This is usu-

ally made as soon as the enemy is discovered, before their foe has gathered his wits. They rush forward with loud howls and yells. If the enemy breaks, the centaurs ride them down. If he wavers or looks weak, they crash into his ranks with their charge. If the foe looks strong, they wheel off and take up harassing fire from a distance. Although they can use their hooves to kick, the nomadic centaur warriors disdain this tactic. Such methods are used only by old females and the sick. Nomadic centaurs find no shame in flight or retreat if the battle is going badly. They scorn the cowardice of warriors who flee before the battle, but falling back or retreating to lure the enemy into a trap are honorable tactics. Habitat/Society: Nomadic centaurs are aloof, proud creatures. They are very tribal, each centaur belonging to a particular clan of a particular tribe. A clan averages 11 to 30 (1d20 + 10) individuals. A tribe is made up of 2 to 12 clans. Each clan travels and hunts as a separate group. Sometimes two or more clans will band together to make a raid or defend against raiders, but such unions last only as long as there is a need. The tribe exists more in name than practice. It represents a group of related clans and is important for determining the bloodline of a centaur. In daily life, the centaurs almost never do anything as a united tribe. There are two rare exceptions to this. One is when they gather to mourn the death of a Learned One. The other is to avenge the destruction of a clan. The ratio of females to males is two to one. Only males go on raids or hunt, yet females are equally skilled in combat and will fight to defend the clan. The young (1-2 hit dice) are fiercely protected but will fight with hooves and bows if necessary (1-3 points of damage, no bonus to THAC0 when using the bow). There are 3 to 18 young per

Centaur, Nomadic clan, but never more than 50% of the total clan. In addition, each clan keeps a small herd of horses. Tribes and clans are central to the centaurs. Indeed, the clan and tribal names are used as surnames, placed before the given name. For example, Ulanchab e’Beshbalig e’Yasagh literally translates as “Ulan tribe is Besh clan is Yasagh” or “Yasagh of the clan of Besh of the tribe of Ulan.” Such names and titles are important to the centaurs. Only older family members, children, and the closest friends use shorter nicknames. Unlike their sylvan cousins, nomadic centaurs are formal in their relationships and behavior. Great importance is attached to keeping the traditional customs and etiquette. The rules of conduct are much different, however, from those of men. To civilized visitors, the nomadic centaurs seem crude and barbaric. They abhor bathing, and they are not picky about the foods they eat. They will spit in the middle of a conversation. They have no regard for the personal property of visitors who must either patiently defend their property at all times or resign themselves to having their goods prodded, examined, and possibly taken. The centaurs have no shame about demanding gifts of noncentaur visitors. Furthermore, life on the steppe has made them indifferent to the hardships and suffering of others. In battle they seldom take prisoners, executing the injured instead. Crimes of theft, adultery, and murder are swiftly punished by cruel deaths. Although the sick and infirm are never abandoned, the best food and treatment are always given to the strong. Fit warriors are more important than weak, old men. These customs disguise the intricate formality of their lives. Every member of the clan has an understood position in the clan. Each position has its own customs and allowances. For example, the head of the clan is always treated with respect. However, those older than he are allowed to address him by his nickname. The clan head divides all kills, first claiming a portion for himself, then the hunter who made the kill, and then the other members of the clan, according to their status. Should the clan head divide the kill in a different order, it can be seen as either a great honor or a serious insult. Although they make some allowances for the ignorance of strangers, the centaurs expect all visitors to adhere to their customs. Centaurs of other clans are usually honored guests. Noncentaurs are considered at the bottom of the social ladder. All centaurs have precedence over them. Unlike their sylvan cousins, the nomadic centaurs do not defend a particular territory. They are nomads and as such do not recognize the ownership of territory. The land belongs to everyone. However, each clan has a hunting range with a radius of 10 to 20 miles from its camp. Wherever the clan is, that is where its territory is. Interlopers into this range are carefully watched strangers are left undisturbed, as long as they do not drive away the game or threaten the clan. If they are clearly more powerful than the clan, the centaurs will simply move to a new area. If they are weaker but are foolishly threatening, the centaurs will attack to wipe them out. The clans live a simple lifestyle. Since there is little shelter on the steppe, the clans build settlements of leantos for protection. These are simple wooden frames with leather roof and sides, providing relief from intense heat, rain, and snow. They eat mostly meat, while children are given mare’s milk. Most of their other possessions are similar to those used by human nomads.


In their relations with other races, the centaurs are very elitist. They do not consider any other race to be their equal, and they see little reason to form alliances or trade agreements with outsiders. This attitude has slowed their cultural advancement, since human merchants are reluctant to deal with them. Indeed, most of the goods used by the centaurs are taken in on raids. Treasures taken by the clan are communally held. They recognize and understand the value of magical items. Those they can use, particularly weapons, are distributed among the warriors. Ecology: Although the centaurs have no particular love of nature, they have learned how to manage it. Wells are carefully maintained, and little water is wasted. Before an area is over-hunted, centaurs will move their hunting ground. They do not hunt for sport, and little of their kills go to waste. They make few demands on the land, thus ensuring there will be adequate resources for the future. Learned Ones The title Learned One is a great honor bestowed by the nomadic centaurs on one who has performed great deeds and shown exceptional skill and wisdom. Learned Ones often rise to become great leaders, advisors, or heroes of the race. The title of Learned One cannot be claimed, but can only be earned. There is no set method by which a person is named Learned One. However, most were tutored by a previous centaur with the title. At some point in his lifetime, the It shows the recipient centaur (male or female) will be naturally recognized as a Learned One. Two other customs make the title of Learned One unique. First is that the recipient is no longer considered to be a member of a particular clan and tribe. He is above such petty rivalries and is welcome as an honored guest in all the clans. Normally the Learned One keeps close ties to his family clan, but some abandon their clan and live by wandering from tribe to tribe. Clans visited by a Learned One have received a great honor. The other custom is even more far-reaching. While most Learned Ones are centaurs, there is no prohibition against members of other races. Thus, in centaur history, there have been human, elven, spirit folk, hengeyokai, and even a few dwarven and halfling Learned Ones. For an outside race to qualify for the title, their skills and services to the centaurs must be considerable, but once so named, the person is treated with every bit of respect and honor that the title is due. It is possible for player characters to be named as Learned Ones, although this is far from easy. To qualify for the honor, the character must patiently develop friendships among the centaurs (no easy thing). Furthermore, he must have performed one or several important services for the race. These actions must be of truly heroic proportions and, ideally, against impossible odds. Learned Ones bear no sign or seal of their title. It is just known to the centaurs as the fame of the person spreads throughout their lands. Of course the titled one must maintain his reputation if he hopes to keep the respect of the centaurs. Should he abuse his position, he will find himself stripped of the honor he has earned.








Temperate Uncommon Herd

Arid Rare Herd

Arid Very rare Herd

Steppe Uncommon Herd

Temperate Uncommon Herd

Day Herbivore Animal (1)


Day Herbivore Animal (1) Nil Neutral

Nil Neutral

Day Herbivore Animal (1) Nil Neutral

Day Herbivore Animal (1) Nil Neutral

Day Herbivore Animal (1) Nil Neutral


2-5 7 18

1-3 7 24

1-3 7 24

3-30 6 24


3+3 17 3

2+3 17 3

3+3 17 3

4+3 15 3


14-6/1-6/1-3 Nil Nil


Nil L (7’-8’) Average (8-10) 120

1-4/1-4/1-3 Nil Nil Nil L (7’-8’) Unsteady (5-7) 65

1-4/1-4/1-3 Nil Nil Nil L (7’-8’) Unsteady (5-7) 120

1-4/1-4/1-3 Nil Nil Nil M (5’-7’) Average (8-10) 175

2-20 6 18 4+3 15 3 1-6/1-6/1-3 Nil Nil

To the untrained eye, a horse is a horse and there is little difference between a riding horse, light horse, warhorse, and draft horse. To the trained eye, however, there are great differences in breeds of horses. This is true in the Forgotten Realms just as much as anywhere else. The different breeds of horse described here are the most notable types found in and around the lands of the Endless Waste. Nars The Nars breed is famous throughout the North. The breed has the reputation for combining strength, speed, and a placid nature. The Nars is a popular breeding stock in Almorel, Nathoud, Narfell, Rashemen, Damara, Vaasa, and Impiltur. The Nars averages about sixteen hands (5’ 4” —a hand equals 4 inches) at the withers, making it a large animal. Its coat is normally a chestnut color, although golds and blacks are also found. It is strong in the harness, such that its movement rate is not reduced when hitched to a cart or wagon. For its size and strength, it has a fast gait, moving at the pace of a medium horse. It can carry as much as a heavy warhorse (260/390/520). The Nars has a good disposition and is less likely to be spooked by sudden shocks. For these qualities, the Nars is popular with the northern nobility and yeoman farmers alike. The Nars breed is a staple of the horse markets of Nathoud. Raurin The Raurin is found mainly in the Raurin Desert and surrounding lands. It is an ancient breed and has been the well-spring of many other bloodlines. Bred first when the desert was a green land, the Raurin survived the drastic change to arid desert. In surviving, it grew tough and sturdy. For centuries it lived wild and free in the desert lands. Then, as men returned into the desert, they tamed the Raurin and began to cultivate the breed. The Raurin is a fine, strong animal, about 15 hands high. Its legs are long and slender. Overall, the horse is

Nil M (5’-7’) Average (8-10) 175

slimly built, so that it has the general proportions of a light warhorse. The Raurin are almost always golden, dun, or gray in color. The breeders have capitalized on the Raurin’s strength and stamina. Through careful management, they have bred the line for speed. The Raurin has all the qualities of a light warhorse and then some. In addition to speed, the Raurin is noted for its sure-footedness and stamina. It is stronger than a light warhorse and hardier. It can survive on fodder alone, and does not need to be fed grain. It can also last for one to three days without water. It is speed that makes the Raurin famous, however. its supporters boast that there is no faster horse in the world. It certainly is one of the fastest, and the breed is popular among the horse racers throughout the region. It can triple its speed for short spurts (no more than 1 or 2 miles). After this it must be cooled down (walked for a turn) and then allowed to rest. If this isn’t done, the horse must make a saving throw vs. shock or collapse from exhaustion. The Raurin breed is rare in the desert and virtually unknown in distant lands. The breed is seldom recognized in distant lands. Although the horse is valuable in the lands where it is known, commanding prices of 1,000 gp or more, it is hard to sell elsewhere. Foreigners must be shown the Raurin’s talents, usually in a horse race. If the demonstration is convincing, the price can be as great as 5,000 gp. In these cases, it is commonly bought to improve the stock of the local breed. Semphari One of the closest relations to the Raurin is the Semphari, a magnificent animal. Of the known breeds, there is none that can rival the Semphari for grace and beauty. These, combined with its fine stamina, sure-footedness, and intelligent nature, have made it one of the most valuable of all horses. The Semphari, so named for the land of its origin, is a smallish, light horse. It stands an average of 14 hands (4’

Horses 8”) at the withers. Its body is light, and its muscles are lean and trim. Like the Raurin, the legs are long and slender, giving it a graceful look. The coat is almost always chestnut or white, fading to gray near the rump. The mane and tail are long. The Semphari is prized for more than just its good looks. it is a hardy horse, able to endure more hardship than its appearance would suggest. This stamina gives it the hit dice of a heavy horse, while it still retains the speed of a light horse. It is nimble and sure-footed, so that all Riding proficiency checks made by its rider are improved by one. Likewise, any saving throws the horse must make that involve dodging are improved by one. Thus, both the horse and rider would have a slightly better chance of springing out of the area of a dragon’s breath at the very last second. By far the most desirable traits, however, are the keen senses and intelligence of the breed. It has good sight and hearing. Wild Semphari mounts have a +1 applied to their surprise die. Tame horses are easily trained. Learning general tasks takes half the normal time required (see the Animal Training proficiency). The Semphari can learn more specific tricks, from 2 to 12. Because of its nature, all Animal Training proficiency checks are one better than normal when dealing with the Semphari. The Semphari is not a widespread breed, found mostly in Semphar and Murghom. There, the lords and nobles keep breeding stables and vie to produce the finest horses. Elaborate pedigrees are maintained and traded with each sale. An average horse of the breed sells for 1,000 to 3,000 gold. A Semphari stallion with an illustrious father can easily command double or triple the normal price. Outside this area, the Semphari is less well known. However, unlike the Raurin, the Semphari’s qualities are easy to see. in foreign markets, the Semphari can still fetch a high price. Pedigrees, while impressive, have little bearing on such sales. Most of the horses are sold to kings and nobles as breeding stock. The prices average 1,000 gold, but finding the breed is almost impossible.

Steppe This beast looks like a cross between a horse and a pony. It is not a graceful or attractive mount, nor large and powerful. Its homely appearance disguises a horse of great endurance and strength. The steppe horse is small, averaging 13 hands at the withers (4’ 4”). The neck is short, and the body is heavyboned. The head is large. The overall effect is of a small, ungainly mount. Add to this the shaggy winter coat of the breed, and the appearance is such that the Steppe is often called a “half-wild.” The coat is normally copper or bronze with a lighter yellow stripe down the back. Beneath the surface, however, is a remarkable mount. The steppe horse is tough and hard to kill. its thick coat and hide give it a good armor class. For all its short legs, the steed can go swiftly for long distances. Its small back is strong and can carry as much as a medium warhorse (220/330/440). It is even-natured, making it steady in battle. The most remarkable of its qualities is its endurance. The steppe horse survives on grazing alone. It does not need separate supplies of grain. It can be ridden for long distances without faltering. A +3 modifier is applied to the saving throw for lameness and exhaustion checks


when traveling overland. Still, the steppe horse is not valuable or sought after. it is most commonly ridden by the nomadic tribes. Outside this region, however, the horse is almost completely unknown, nor will it command high prices at auction. Only those breeders seeking strength and stamina for their own bloodlines are likely to consider the steppe pony worth greater than normal sums.

Sosser The Sosser is a mix of steppe horse and other breeds. It is not a glamorous animal, but it is not as homely as its cousin the steppe horse. It is valued for its surefootedness, strength, and ability to resist the cold. The Sosser is a smallish horse, about 14 hands, though not as barrel-chested as the steppe horse. The neck is long and the head narrow. The hooves are broader than most. In general, it has the proportions of a light horse. The coat is normally chestnut or copper and grows long during the cold season. The Sosser is bred to endure the cold weather of the far northern mountains and to serve as a work animal. it has greater-than-normal hit dice and a better armor class than most. It is not a fast horse for its size, but can carry as much as a medium warhorse (220/330/440). Like the Nars, it is good in the harness. its movement rate is not reduced when pulling carts or wagons. The Sosser has admirable resistance to cold weather. it has a saving throw bonus of +1 against cold-based attacks and suffers one point less per die of damage from such attacks. Conversely, it has less endurance to heat, and saving throws against heat exhaustion are made at a -1. With the Nars, the Sosser is favored by the farmers of the far north. The horse can commonly be found in the lands of Sossai, Narfell, Vaasa, Damara, and Thar. It is not considered particularly exceptional and can usually be bought for only a little more than the average price.


Steppe Very rare Solitary


Y, U (E) Chaotic evil


1-3 -1 15 8+3 11 2 3-18 and weapon +4 Shapechange see below Nil L (8’-10’) Elite (15)



Any Carnivore Very (11-12)

The manggus is a powerful evil spirit that lives in the lands of men. There it uses its powers to terrorize and exact sacrifices from the population. In its natural form, the manggus is a fearsome-looking creature. it stands about the size of an ogre. Skin hangs loose on its body in wrinkled folds. Its eyes are bloodshot, and when they water, drops of blood flow like tears. It has four long fangs, two extending upward almost to its eyes, and two extending down, well below its chin. its true form is seldom seen, however, since the creature most often travels in different shape. Combat: In the rare instances when encountered in its natural form, the manggus fights with its bite and a weapon. The most common weapon used is a large maul, capable of causing 2-12 points of damage, +4 for the great strength of the creature. it attacks with great ferocity in the initial rounds and will continue to do so as long as the fight goes its way. However, if outmatched, outnumbered, or unlucky, it will flee at the first opportunity. if it cannot flee, it will try to surrender. If these options fail, it continues to fight at the best of its ability. However, the manggus is rarely battled in its natural form, since it has the formidable ability to change its shape. it can do this up to four times per day. The shapes available are limited to creatures known to the manggus. This prevents it from becoming a very rare or unique creature, or one from some far distant land. In general the manggus assumes the form of humans, animals, giants, nagas, or other fearsome creatures found throughout its range. As per the spell, the shapechanged manggus has all the power and abilities of the form it has assumed. A manggus usually has a repertoire of preferred forms that it will use in a fight. Thus, one might favor a stone giant for combat, an asperii for speed, and an invisible stalker to avoid detection. Being highly intelligent, the manggus will assume whatever form is best for its needs. In addition to its shapechanging ability, the manggus has several innate magical powers. its can cause disease with its touch three times per day and can use ESP (60’ range), comprehend languages, and cause fear at will. It

can only be hit by weapons of +1 enchantment or greater. It is immune to all charm and hold spells. It is immune to cold and all cold-based spells. It is, however, vulnerable to fire. If struck by magical flame while shapechanged, it must revert to its natural form. in its natural form, it has a -1 on its saving throw against all fire-based attacks. Habitat/Society: The manggus tends to be a solitary creature, living alone or in mated pairs. Such bonds are formed for life, and the male and female are quite devoted to each other. Beyond this, it shuns the company of its own kind, fearing competition and exposure should too many of its race gather in one place. What the manggus competes for is humans, its favored food. Knowing that it is outnumbered and ultimately weaker than its prey, the manggus uses trickery and deceit to obtain its meals. Its favorite method is to use its powers and rule over a village or town in human form. There it uses it shapechanging ability to terrorize the humans into making offerings and sacrifices. if it cannot obtain its meals this way, it preys on lonely travelers or isolated farmhouses. Should things become too dangerous, the manggus has no hesitation about moving to a new town and beginning again. Ecology: The manggus is strictly a predator of man. Should the human population of an area become too small to support it, or too well protected, it will change its hunting grounds. Although it can disguise itself perfectly as a human, the manggus prefers to avoid large cities, since the risk of discovery there is too great.



Any Unique Solitary Any Vegetarian Supra-genius (19-20) Special Chaotic good 1 -10 15, Fl 24 * 2 5 by weapon +5 see below see below 30% M (5’ 6”) Fearless (19-20) See below

Monkey is a truly unique being. Once he was an official of the Celestial Bureaucracy in the outer planes. However, for his tricks and mischief, the Celestial Emperor stripped him of much of his power and banished him to Toril on the Prime Material plane. Monkey can take many different forms, but generally restricts himself to a human appearance or his natural form. This is of a human with a monkey’s face, dressed in robes finer than those of the greatest Shou mandarin. He has impeccable manners. (Although by the standards of the Celestial Court he is crude and profane.) Combat: Monkey never fights unless he wants to; with his powers it is impossible to force him into a battle. When he does choose battle, he will either fight to kill (against evil opponents) or fight to embarrass and humiliate his enemy. In physical combat, he can make five attacks in a single round, striking with his sword at blinding speed. He can only be hit by +3 weapons or better and regenerates at the rate of 5 hit points per round. Even more formidable, though, are his magical powers. Monkey has the innate ability to cast almost any magical spell. The only ones denied him are wishes, those that summon creatures from other planes, and those involving planar travel. Beyond these restrictions he can use any other spell he desires simply by thinking about it. He needs no components, gestures, or the like. Given this power, he is virtually unbeatable in combat. Although he functions as if he had 20 hit dice, Monkey cannot truly be killed, this being one of the conditions of his banishment. If his physical form is destroyed, he is reborn, hale and well, with the next dawn. Habitat/Society: Fortunately for the world, Monkey is not interested in power or domination. Indeed, he has developed a paternal attitude toward the beings of this littie island he is stranded upon. if attacked by the inhabitants, he is more likely to teleport his foes to the top of a mountain or onto a lonely island than to kill them outright (which would not be hard for him). It is difficult to say what does motivate Monkey. He is a trickster, a gadfly to the great powers of the outer planes.

He has stolen the Peaches of immortality, battled the Animal Kings, studied the Seven Great Disciplines under the Nine Masters, shaved the beard of the Lord of the Dead, and committed many other pranks too numerous to mention. Although these jests have enraged the greater powers, Monkey shows no fear or sincere remorse for committing them. Even being banished for his pestiferous deeds has not dulled his wit or mischievous nature. There is no doubt that were he returned to the Celestial Bureaucracy tomorrow, he would immediately resume his old ways, and probably be banished again the day after. Indeed, if Monkey has any failing, it is his lack of “common sense.” He boasts when others know it will get him in trouble. He lies outrageously and without conscience. He commits deeds certain to get him in trouble and makes no effort to hide his involvement in the most outlandish events. He cheerfully taunts his enemies, humiliating them in front of their equals. None of these have earned him many friends among the celestial officials. Monkey’s treasure is not one that can be carried away. Although he has many magical items and great wealth, he does not consider these important. Knowledge and information are true treasures. As a reward for services, Monkey typically answers one to three questions. These can be about anything on Toril, for nothing except the doings of his fellow celestial powers is hidden from him. His exploits have earned him a place in the myths of Shou. He is hailed as a comic folk hero by the peasants. in him they have a figure who strikes back at corrupt officials in the name of the peasantry. Many a Robin Hood bandit has taken the name Monkey as his own. Ecology: What does a godlike being eat? Monkey can live on the very air. He does have a taste for rich food, fruits, and wine. He can eat prodigious quantities without filling himself. It is not a good idea to offer to cook for him.




Tundra and arctic forest Very rare Solitary


W (D) Lawful Neutral


1-4 0 9 8 13 1


Day Vegetarian Very (11-12)

1-8 or weapon Breath weapon, spells +1 weapon or better to hit Nil M (5’-7’) Elite (13-14) 3,000

The shatjan is a powerful protector of the icy far north. There it lives in solitude, watching over the flocks of reindeer that roam the tundra. The shatjan has the body of a man or woman, strong and stocky, and the head of a reindeer. Males sport large antler racks, while females have antlers that are somewhat smaller. The head, neck, shoulders, and forearms are covered with a thick gray to dark brown coat. Shatjan clothing is made from skins and bark, often decorated with patterns and symbols. Combat: The shatjan is not by nature a warrior, and seldom seeks out battle. However, in its role as protector of the herds, the shatjan is often forced to fight against predators of all types. The shatjan is accustomed to fighting in snow, ice, and cold. It is never hampered by these conditions and will often try to lure its opponents to a position that places them at a disadvantage—a deep drift or a slippery patch of ice. In combat it uses bonetipped harpoons, wooden clubs, or short bows. The shatjan has a breath weapon, usable every round. It can breathe a blast of freezing cold to a range of 5 feet. The cold can only affect a single target per round and causes 3 dice of damage. Because the breath is narrow and concentrated, a successful saving throw vs. breath weapon negates all damage. The shatjan can also lower temperatures in a 10 foot radius. This is an innate ability and does not require any concentration. The temperature drops by 10 degrees each round. When the temperature drops to 0, those in the radius suffer 1-2 points of damage per round. At -20 degrees or lower, the damage suffered increases to 1-4 points per round. Those dressed appropriately for that temperature suffer correspondingly less damage. Thus, if the temperature is already 0 and the characters are wearing parkas, no damage is suffered until the temperature reaches -20, and then the damage is half normal. The shatjan is immune to cold and all cold-based attacks. It can be hit only by +1 weapons or better. Habitat/Society: Shatjans are solitary creatures, moving with the annual migrations of the reindeer herds.

During the summer, it lives in a small family group at the edge of the forest and tundra. There they build temporary camps, little wickiups of fir branches and birch bark. During winter they follow the reindeer back into the forests and live in ice caves or leather tents. Since shatjans do not need to protect themselves against the cold, they build these shelters for convenience and comfort. A typical camp has only one male and one female, who mate for life, and a number of young. Females are equal to males in combat ability, while the young have 1-5 hit dice and no special abilities. Shatjan are closely linked to reindeer and serve as their guardians. They can speak with animals and predict weather. The guardianship of a herd does not mean they defend against all predators. The shatjan become involved only if the predators become too damaging in their attacks. In addition, they act to minimize the damage from natural disasters, such as fires or famine, by guiding their herds to safe grounds. The shatjan have no friendship or dislike of humans, viewing them as yet another force to contend with. They haltingly speak the language of humans, usually that of whatever tribe is closest to their territory. In addition, they speak their own tongue. Ecology: The shatjan eat much the same foods as reindeer. In addition, they sometimes trade with humans for vegetable delicacies they cannot get in the north. The northern human tribes consider the shatjan to be powerful totem spirits. The creatures figure strongly in local folklore, since the reindeer herds are vital to the survival of the tribes. No wise hunter begins a hunt without first making an offering to the shatjan. When the creatures are encountered, tribesmen treat them with great respect and consider the meeting to be a good omen.


Arid mountains Very rare Solitary


1-2 -3 12


9+4 11 2 2-12/2-12 Breath weapon, enlarge +2 or better weapon to hit


Nil M (5’-7’) Elite (15)


Day Omnivore Average (8-10) V (G) Chaotic evil

The shimnus is a fearful denizen that once dwelt on some outer plane. Through unfortunate circumstance, the race found its way to the Prime Material plane and has decided to make its home here. In its natural form, the shimnus appears as an ogresized crone, passably human in appearance. Its hair is long and loose, wildly matted and caked with filth. Its teeth are sharp and black. The hands end in long, cracked nails. It dresses in rags of poverty. No male shimnus has ever been seen. Combat: The shimnus is a fearsome creature in battle, but usually fights as a last resort. It far prefers trickery and guile to combat, although it is not cowardly or weak. Often it will pose as a bizarre old woman, attempting to dupe its victims. When it does fight, the shimnus uses its claws or magical weapons (50%). These weapons are usually a large set of iron pincers (+1 to hit, 2-16 points of damage) and an iron hammer (+2, 1-8 +2 points of damage). Its bizarre weapons are not what make the shimnus fearsome. In addition to its physical attacks, the shimnus can breath fire. The gout of flame is a cone 10 feet long and 3 feet wide. It causes five dice of damage. If the creature chooses to breathe, it cannot make any other attacks in the round. There is no limit to the number of flaming breaths it can use in a day. Finally, once per day, the shimnus can enlarge itself to the size of a storm giant. When enlarged, it gains a +5 to its THAC0 and +8 to damage. It can hurl boulders for 2-20 points of damage to a range of 200 yards. (It does not gain the full benefits of storm giant size since this is not its natural form.) This enlargement lasts for only one turn (10 rounds). Because of its extraplanar origins, the shimnus has special defenses and weaknesses. It is immune to all mind control and hold spells. It can be hit only by weapons of +2 enchantment or better. It is, however, susceptible to spells that affect extraplanar creatures, in particular holy word.

Habitat/Society: Shimnuses are solitary creatures and are never found in numbers greater than a pair. Only apparent females have been seen, but this may be because males and females are identical in all ways. Another possibility put forth by scholars is that the males still reside on the home plane and have not yet invaded the Prime Material plane. Whatever the nature of their social lives, the shimnus prefers to live in barren wilderness at the very fringe of human society. The creatures are omnivorous and have developed a taste for human food, cheeses and milks in particular. As far as is known, they do not eat human, demihuman, or humanoid flesh. The shimnuses view humans and their like not so much as threats but as dupes and nuisances. They like the Prime Material plane for its pleasant conditions and easy prey. The current inhabitants are minor irritants they must endure. They contemptuously scorn all attempts by the “little things” (humans, etc.), to rule or regulate them. Indeed, such attempts usually result in fearful retaliation. Ecology: As noted before, the shimnuses have developed a taste for human food. They eat prodigious quantities when they do eat, and finding food is one of their major concerns. Whenever possible they try to trick humans into feeding them, but they have been known to offer portions of their treasure hoards for a good meal.